Pure Religion Moment: Seeing the Sacrament from a Different Perspective
Contributed By Patricia Brewer Madsen, Church News contributor
- After a car accident, Sister Madsen was unable to physically partake of the sacrament.
- This gave her a different perspective on the sacrament and renewing covenants.
“You will never eat again.” That was the diagnosis I was given after I lost all but three feet of my intestines in a near-fatal car accident in July 2014. Three months later, when I was transferred to a hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, from Scottsdale, Arizona, I was allowed to swish water in my mouth and spit it out as often as I wanted and have a cup of ice chips once a day.
On a Sunday shortly after my arrival at the Salt Lake City hospital, a senior missionary couple visited me in my room and asked if I wanted to take the sacrament. I explained that I could not eat, but they said, “No problem. We will be back in about 15 minutes to bring you the sacrament.” I was interested to see what would transpire.
The couple sent two elders who had a small wooden box with the emblems of the sacrament inside. One elder explained he would bless the bread and give me a moment to mentally partake of the bread and then do the same thing with the water. It was an interesting experience to “partake” of the sacrament in this manner.
After they left, I pondered a lot about what it would be like if I was never able physically to take the sacrament the rest of my life. I realized God allows us to renew our covenants with Him even if we cannot physically do so. Under that condition, I would mentally be making the same commitments to take upon me Christ’s name, to always remember Him and keep His commandments as if I was still physically partaking of the sacred emblems of the sacrament. Physical limitations do not make us less able to follow the Savior. In fact, they can make us realize even more our need for the Savior’s mercy and love. I am so grateful to the senior missionary who helped me understand that God loves all His children and wants them to be able to make and keep sacred covenants despite limitations.
I remember the first Sunday in January 2015 when I was allowed physically to take the sacrament in church. It was a sweet experience, and I knew I was still making the same covenants I had done the previous months when I mentally took the sacrament. My testimony in the Savior’s redeeming love for us and His sacrifice in our behalf was deepened through this experience. Even now as I have advanced to eating a soft food diet, I don’t want to forget how meaningful the sacrament is to me and how blessed we are to be allowed physically to take the emblems of the sacrament in remembrance of our Savior.
—Sister Patricia Brewer Madsen is from the Wilford Ward, Salt Lake Wilford Stake