The way we keep the Sabbath day holy is an outward manifestation of our covenant to always remember Jesus Christ.
I recall, as an 11-year-old, being reverently escorted by my bishop into the chapel of our new ward building, where he sat with me in front of the sacrament table. He said, “You know, Larry, you will soon be ordained to the office of deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood. Do you realize what a special blessing and duty that will be?” He told me that I would have the sacred responsibility to act as the Savior did in providing the holy emblems of the sacrament to those in our congregation. I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of the priesthood calling I was to receive.
My bishop asked that I memorize the two sacrament prayers and think about how they fit into my life. He said I must strive to do the things the sacrament prayers ask each of us to do if I was to act for the Savior in providing the sacrament to others. After I returned home, my father helped me locate the sacrament prayers in both the Doctrine and Covenants (20:76–79) and the Book of Mormon (Moroni 4; 5). I read them carefully for the first time in my life. I listened closely as they were offered in church. I pondered the words as the bread was being passed, but the full impact of the sacramental covenant became apparent when I heard these words in the blessing on the water: “that they do always remember him.” I asked myself, “Do I always remember Him? What does always mean? How can I remember Him always?” Every time I hear those sacred sacramental prayers, I am moved to reflect on these same questions.
The way we keep the Sabbath day holy is an outward manifestation of our covenant with Heavenly Father to always remember Jesus Christ. The Sabbath day should become the foundation for our remembrance of Him for the other six days of the week.
Sunday is a day to slow down, pause, and remember. We attend our Church meetings; reflect on our blessings, strengths, and shortcomings; seek forgiveness; partake of the sacrament; and ponder the Savior’s suffering on our behalf. We try not to be distracted by anything that would prevent us from worshipping Him, for “on this day,” as the Lord has said, “thou shalt do none other thing” (D&C 59:13). Any activity we participate in during the Sabbath should be in keeping with the spirit of remembering Christ. If anything we are doing on any part of the Sabbath takes us away from remembering the Savior and ministering on the Sabbath as He would minister, then perhaps we should reconsider what we are doing. Remember, the Sabbath is a day appointed not only “to rest from your labors” but also “to pay thy devotions unto the Most High” (D&C 59:10).
We must plan our lives in such a way that there is no excuse for taking away from the sanctity of any part of the Lord’s day. It is a day to be about His business, a day on which our whole lives can be blessed and renewed by having sacred experiences individually and with our family. It is a day for the enrichment of our spirit.
Spend some time today creating a thoughtful plan of things that you will do to really make the Sabbath day a sacred and holy day in your life. Then act on your plan.
Remember the Lord’s wonderful promise to those who properly honor the Sabbath: “And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, … the fulness of the earth is yours” (D&C 59:15–16). Can we afford to forgo these blessings in our lives and in the lives of our family members?
I believe in honoring the Sabbath day. I boldly but humbly bear witness that observing the Sabbath day is a commandment of our God, who lives and loves each of us. I testify that if we will follow and live the divine mandate to keep the Sabbath day holy, the Lord, in turn, will bless us, direct us, and inspire us in solving the issues that confront us.
This article originally appeared in the January 2014 Liahona.