Sometimes familiarity and routine have the tendency to rob otherwise sacred moments of their full meaning. For me, I had let the sacrament lose some of its intended meaning. Each week, I listened to the sacred sacramental prayers while seated in nearly the same pew in the same chapel, surrounded by a familiar congregation.
But the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted this routine and reset my perspective.
Unable to join others in the chapel, I found myself receiving the sacrament in a new setting—gathered around my dining room table with my small family. Doing something familiar and routine in this new setting brought a fresh perspective and, with that new perspective, renewed meaning.
Although I had participated in the sacrament ordinance hundreds of times in my lifetime, doing it where I ordinarily joined my family for a meal and conversation highlighted the familial undertones of the sacrament in ways I hadn’t appreciated before.
One Sunday in particular, as I knelt and uttered the words, “We ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ” (Moroni 4:3), my attention went to my precious four-year-old son sitting close to me. There he sat with his arms folded, listening to the prayer, radiating innocence and goodness.
With this brilliant sight in my mind, I continued to offer the prayer. As I spoke the words, “the body of thy Son,” a question entered my mind. What would it be like to willingly sacrifice this innocent son of mine and submit him to incomprehensible pain and suffering?
In a word, unimaginable.
Pondering this impossible question, I continued with the prayer. The words “take upon them the name of thy Son” brought another question to my mind. God is also a Father. How could He sacrifice His Son? As I looked at my other family members, who, like me, desperately needed the sacrament, the simple but profound answer came: divine love (see John 3:16).
It seemed as if the windows of heaven briefly opened to reveal a portion of our Heavenly Father’s pure love—so great a love that He sacrificed His truly innocent, perfect Son for us, His other children.
In view of this sacrifice, no matter the difficulties and inequities of life—including a deadly pandemic, disrupted economies, civil unrest, an unbelieving world, and general uncertainty—how could we seriously doubt His love for us?
Lest we forget, the sacrament serves as a weekly reminder of this deep and enduring love. In routinely considering the unparalleled gift of His Son, we can find comfort and overcome the temptation to doubt the Father’s love or concern for us during challenging times.
Without properly considering the eternal fatherhood of God and His role in Jesus Christ’s Atonement, the sacrament ordinance feels incomplete to me now. It stands as a constant reminder to me of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and expression of Heavenly Father’s love for me.
And it is because of this lesson in love that I will always treasure our at-home sacrament experience.