I thought I'd post Timo's talk. I thought he did an incredible job especially when he found out Thursday afternoon just before some term finals that he was going to have to give it! He wasn't able to to write it until Saturday but I don't think it hurt his talk. Note: our church is a lay ministry which means we all volunteer no one is paid to teach or preach so on Sundays members take turns sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ on various subjects. Timo spoke on the Sacrament, that was the topic he was given.
Hello brother and sisters, I have been asked to speak today about the sacrament. The sacrament is the focal point of our sacrament meetings. We take the sacrament to renew our covenants and remember the great Atonement of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The water represents the blood of the Savior, and the bread represents the body. Mervyn B. Arnold said in the last general conference, “Each week as we partake of the sacrament we covenant and promise that we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. If we are willing to do so, we are promised that most wonderful blessing-that His Spirit will always be with us.” This gives us the chance to have the Holy Ghost with us as our constant companion, guiding us and directing us with every decision that we make. This would not be possible without the Atonement and the sacrament.
When Jesus came to the Nephites after his resurrection he gave them the sacrament and told them of its importance. He says in 3 Nephi Chapter 20 verse 8, “He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled.” When the Nephites had all eaten and drunk, they were filled with the spirit and it says they “gave glory to Jesus.” I think that sometimes when we partake of the sacrament we take it without “giving glory to Jesus” even though he made it possible for us to partake of the sacrament. Sometimes we take the sacrament without thinking about its importance and its great need. I know I am sometimes guilty of this. We all want to make it back to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus, and to do this we must be clean and pure, but we all make mistakes. Our Savior Jesus loves us so much that he died for us so that we might repent and be able to return to live with him again. When we partake of the sacrament, we are forgiven of our mistakes. What a great blessing this is to all of us. We take the sacrament each week so sometimes we take it for granted and take it without remembering Jesus's great sacrifice for us. I hope that we can all make the sacrament more meaningful.
As a member of the Aaronic Priesthood I have many duties pertaining to the sacrament. As a deacon I passed the sacrament, as a teacher I prepared the sacrament, and now as a priest I break the bread and bless the sacrament. It is a neat experience to partake in the sacrament services. Ever since I have become a deacon, our leaders have stressed the importance of the sacrament. They work their hardest to get us to truly understand its importance and to participate in it in a very reverent way. Our ward is unique in this way. Our teachers show up 30 minutes early to prepare the sacrament, and our deacons and priests are in their seats 10 minutes before church starts almost every Sunday. We are also expected to wear a white shirt and a tie that is not distracting, as well as clean hair, without our sleeves rolled up. We have also been taught to be reverent because we set the tone for the sacrament meeting, and many people watch to see what we are doing. Every month at the Aaronic Priesthood Committee meeting the bishopric would ask the presidents of each quorum how we can improve the sacrament.
Back when I was the president of the teacher's quorum, one Sunday me and a few other teachers had shown up at around 8:30 to prepare the sacrament. This particular week we all showed up right on time and got the sacrament ready pretty fast. As we were setting out the bread and water, an older man (turns out he was on the General Young Mens Board) came up to us and asked us which one of us was in charge. I told him I was the president of our quorum and he asked me if we showed up this early every week and finished this fast every week. Even though we finished a little faster than normal, it was still a pretty average time, so I told him that we usually did. He was amazed. He told me that what we had was pretty special. It turned out this man was from the General Young Men's Board. He had been to many different wards, and he was very impressed. To our ward this is expected. We are lucky to live in a ward where the bishopric and young men leaders stress the importance of the sacrament. Through these experiences, my own testimony has been strengthened about the importance of the sacrament. As I have developed a testimony of the sacrament, participating in the sacrament has also become more meaningful. I challenge those who have the Aaronic priesthood, especially the deacons, to gain a testimony of the sacrament now. I testify that if you do, your responsibilities as a member of the Aaronic priesthood will become more meaningful and you will gain a stronger testimony of Christ.