“A Blanket of Peace,” Ensign, Apr. 1992, 48
I had just returned home for the summer after a hectic year at Brigham Young University. I looked forward to my vacations, and the first Sunday back in my home ward was always the best. Seeing old faces and meeting new members was one of my favorite things to do.
As I sat in the chapel, I noticed Marc sitting at the sacrament table, beaming. I wondered if he was confused about where to sit or if one of the other boys had asked him to carry something up to the table and he was under the impression that he could stay.
Marc isn’t like the other young men I had grown up with. He is mentally retarded and has often been shuffled to the side. It hasn’t been intentional, but sometimes it just seemed easier to do something for Marc instead of helping him do it himself.
Sacrament meeting began, and Marc remained at the sacrament table. I became more concerned as first the opening prayer, then the announcements, and finally the sacrament hymn began. Marc and his companion stood and began to break the bread. I was confused and looked around to see if anyone else was ill at ease. Suddenly, a sense of peace overcame me. It was as though the Spirit had entered our small congregation and had floated down upon us like a soft blanket.
I quietly watched Marc. He seemed to be breaking each piece of bread with special care, as if he were taking extra time to express concern for each person who was about to partake. For the first time in my life, I realized that the sacrament is an individualized renewal, a one-on-one covenant between the Lord and each one of us. Marc broke the bread as though he understood that. I had never seen anyone handle the sacrament so reverently.
The bread was ready to be blessed now. The young man by Marc’s side prayed first. The bread was passed. Then it was Marc’s turn to bless the water. He knelt, and my heart raced as the Spirit filled my soul.
His speech was slurred, and there were several stops, but each pause provided an opportunity for reflection. I had caught a glimpse of eternity: a loving Father, our Elder Brother, and the sacredness of being a member of a church concerned with individual progression. I understood—really understood, perhaps for the first time—that partaking of the bread and water allows the Spirit to be with us at all times during our hectic week’s activities. It allows us to remember the Savior’s sacrifice and commitment to us, to realize that he cared enough to give his life so we could return home and dwell with him forever.
I was amazed that in just fifteen minutes, Marc taught me so much about the prayers and covenants that I had been hearing and making for the past twenty-one years. I still see him vividly in my memory, and every time I remember that day, I am filled with appreciation. His example helped me to realize that the sacrament is more than a renewal of vows. It is a sacred opportunity to feel the Savior’s love.