“Lesson 35: The Sacrament,” Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, 123
Each young man will realize the blessings that can come to him as he partakes worthily of the sacrament.
1. Materials needed: scriptures for each young man.
2. Assign two young men to read the testimonies in the lesson.
3. Prepare a copy of the handout “Making the Sacrament More Meaningful” for each young man (see page 126).
4. Select a sacrament hymn and make the necessary arrangements to have the young men sing or read it at the conclusion of the lesson. Choose a hymn you think would be appropriate and familiar to the young men.
SUGGESTED LESSON DEVELOPMENT
We Make Serious Covenants with the Lord
Scripture, chalkboard, and discussion
Write the symbols—H2O, $, and a musical note—illustrated below on the chalkboard, and ask the young men for the meaning of each.
Have a young man read John 1:29. Explain that during Old Testament times, the firstborn lamb was offered as a sacrifice to the Lord. Point out that the lamb was symbolic of the Savior before his final sacrifice and that today the sacrament symbolizes and helps us remember his sacrifice for us.
• What does the bread we partake of in the sacrament symbolize?
• What does the water we drink in the sacrament symbolize?
Have the young men read the sacrament prayers from Doctrine and Covenants 20:77, 79.
Ask the young men to look at the sacrament prayers and find the promises we make as we partake of the sacrament. As they find those promises, list them on the chalkboard as follows:
We promise Heavenly Father:
1. To take upon us the name of Christ.
2. To always remember Christ.
3. To keep the commandments of Christ.
• If we do these things, what does the Lord promise us? (We will always have the Spirit of Christ, which is the Holy Ghost, to be with us.)
When a child is born or adopted, he is given the family name. He should try to live up to and bring honor to that name.
• What does it mean to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ? (To commit to strive to become like him; to follow his example and teachings.)
• What does it mean to “remember him”?
• When should we remember him?
• How can we remember the Savior “always”?
• What can we do during the week to help us remember him? (Pray, study the scriptures, obey the commandments, have charity.)
Emphasize that remembering Jesus is more than simply remembering that he lived and that he atoned for our sins. Perhaps the most important way to remember him is to always obey his teachings and commandments.
Have a young man read the following statement:
“Each time we partake of these emblems, we manifest before the Father that we do remember his Son; and by the act of partaking of the bread and the water, we make a solemn covenant that we do take upon us the name of our Redeemer, and that we do, further, make a pledge and an agreement by that act that we will keep his commandments” (Melvin J. Ballard, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard, compiled by Bryant S. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1949], p. 147).
Explain that in speaking of the covenants we make when we partake of the sacrament, President David O. McKay stated: “Who can measure the responsibility of such a covenant? How far reaching! How comprehensive! It excludes from man’s life profanity, vulgarity, idleness, jealousy, drunkenness, dishonesty, hatred, selfishness, and every form of vice. It obligates him … to industry, to kindness, to the performance of every duty in church and state. He binds himself to respect his fellowmen, to honor the Priesthood, to pay his tithes and offerings and to consecrate his life to the service of humanity” (Millennial Star, Dec. 1923, p. 778).
Emphasize again that as we keep our covenants, the Savior blesses us with his Spirit and helps us make right decisions.
• Why is the Lord’s promise to us of such great importance? (The Holy Ghost can teach us, guide us, comfort us, testify of truth, and help us grow in faith and testimony.)
Explain that without the refining influence of the Holy Ghost, we would not be able to return to Heavenly Father’s presence.
Partaking of the Sacrament Should Be a Meaningful Experience
Ask the young men to remember the last sacrament service they attended as you read the following thought questions:
• Were you quiet and reverent?
• Did you think about the words of the sacrament hymn?
• Did you listen thoughtfully to the sacrament prayers?
• Did you think about the covenants you were making?
• What were you thinking about as the sacrament was being passed? As you partook of the bread and water?
• As you administer the sacrament, what can you do to help make it a spiritual experience for others?
Discussion and handout
Emphasize that we can all prepare for the sacrament each week by sincerely repenting of our sins and by asking forgiveness from those we have hurt.
Give each young man a copy of the handout containing suggestions on how to make the sacrament more meaningful. Suggest that they place the handout where they can read and ponder the suggestions during the week. Read through the items with the class.
Ask the two assigned young men to read the following testimonies of young people about the sacrament.
“When I’m reverent and think about Christ during the sacrament, I think of how Jesus suffered for all of us and how much he loves us. When I’m not reverent during the sacrament, I don’t realize what I’m saying ‘Amen’ to. I just take the sacrament because it’s routine and not because I understand what it really stands for. I don’t really have any kind of feeling when I forget or don’t care what the sacrament stands for. I get a good feeling when I think about Christ—that we all have an older brother who loves us and will help us at all times if we ask. It means a lot to me that he was willing to die for us.”
“In the past, I didn’t realize what covenant I was taking when I said ‘Amen’ to the sacrament prayer. I really didn’t know what was going on. I was more interested in what my friends were talking about than what was said in the prayer. Last Sunday I really listened to the sacrament prayer and it said, ‘to take upon them the name of thy Son.’ I realized the bread and the water were to help us remember Christ. I sat and thought of what Christ had done for me. I’m going to try harder in the future to keep my covenant with Christ.”
The Sacrament Is a Source of Spiritual Growth
“We do things for which we are sorry and desire to be forgiven, or we have erred against someone and given injury. If there is a feeling in our hearts that we are sorry for what we have done, if there is a feeling in our souls that we would like to be forgiven, then the method to obtain forgiveness is not through rebaptism; it is not to make confession to man, but it is to repent of our sins, to go to those against whom we have sinned or transgressed and obtain their forgiveness and then [go] to the sacrament table where, if we have sincerely repented and put ourselves in proper condition, we shall be forgiven, and spiritual healing will come to our souls. It will really enter into our being” (Melvin J. Ballard, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard, compiled by Bryant S. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1949], p. 149).
Ask the young men how the individuals in the following situations could seek forgiveness and be prepared to partake of the sacrament.
1. You have earned some extra money by doing yard work and have used that money to buy a new bicycle. During sacrament meeting, you realize that you have spent all of your money and have forgotten to pay your tithing. You do not feel right about this.
2. Your best friend told you a personal secret. You know you promised him that you wouldn’t tell, but decide that it might not hurt to tell one other person. So you tell another person and tell him to tell no one else. You find out later that the entire school has learned the secret. You feel bad that you did not keep your friend’s confidence, and you know you have injured him.
Explain that situations like these should be cleared up so that those involved can partake of the sacrament worthily. Emphasize that as they partake of the sacrament, they are making a covenant to overcome their weaknesses and obey all the Lord’s commandments.
If appropriate, have the young men sing a sacrament hymn. Or you might have a young man read aloud the words of a sacrament hymn. Ask the young men to pay particular attention to the meaning of the words.
Conclude by sharing your feelings about the sacrament.
Making the Sacrament More Meaningful
1. Recognize your weaknesses and come prepared through repentance to partake of the sacrament.
2. Sing the sacrament hymn and think about the meaning of the words.
3. Review the meaning of the sacrament prayers in your mind.
4. Think of Christ’s great love for you and of your love for him.
5. Think of blessings for which you are grateful.
6. Review your activities of the past week to determine if you have kept your sacramental covenants.
7. Ask for the Lord’s help and commit to overcoming a weakness during the coming week.