All Things Witness

Thoughts on the mission and power of Jesus Christ


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They Did Kneel Down With The Church

Image © Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc

This post is part of my series about the LDS ordinance of the sacrament. In my previous posts I’ve discussed the table, the cloth covering and the Priests. For those articles, as well as to see what else I’m currently expecting to write in the series, go here.

When Jesus introduced the sacrament amongst His Jerusalem apostles, Matthew tells us that He “blessed” and “gave thanks” for the bread and wine. He then offered it to His disciples. (Matthew 26:26-27) A single blessing or thanks, one for the bread and another for the wine, and then each of the men with Him partook of it.

If you stop and think about it, that’s really interesting, because it is so unusual. Most other LDS ordinances are very much one to one. Baptism: a single prayer for a single person. Confirmation: a single prayer for a single person. Priesthood ordinations: a single prayer for a single person. Etc. We have many communal worship experiences. Not so, with ordinances.*

Indeed, for the sacrament, it seems that the communal experience is an integral part of the ordinance. Moroni tells us that those ministering the Sacrament, “…did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ…” (Moroni 4:2, emphasis added. See also D&C 20:76)

The question we must ask ourselves is therefore why the communal experience is so important. Continue reading


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Beautiful Irony

© Copyright, Intellectual Reserve International

This is the fifth post in my series about the LDS ordinance of the sacrament. All the previous posts can be found here. So far, I’ve talked about how the sacrament table serves as an altar for us today here, and the many wonderful symbolisms the white cloth covering the sacrament represents here and here.

When Christ introduced the sacrament, Matthew tells us that, “Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples…. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them…” (Matthew 26:26-27)

I’ll be discussing the bread and wine/water in later posts. Here I want to focus on those who represent Jesus in this ordinance – the Priests (or Melchizedek Priesthood holders).

It was a couple of years ago now that I was pondering the sacrament and suddenly realised the beautiful irony in its blessing. That the Priests represent Christ is generally well understood. Indeed, in any instance where the Priesthood is being used, the one doing so represents our Saviour.

But there is something special about it in the sacrament. You see, in this ordinance the Priests don’t only bless the emblems of Christ’s atonement: they are also the ones who break the bread. Think about that. Continue reading


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Concealing and Revealing

The ark of the covenant was considered a sacred item of great power amongst the Israelites. It's normal place was in the Temple, behind a veil, in the Holy of Holies

The ark of the covenant was considered a sacred item of great power amongst the Israelites. It’s normal place was in the Temple, behind a veil, in the Holy of Holies

This is the 4th post in a series about the LDS ordinance of the Sacrament. You can find the list and links to all of the articles in the series here.

In the last article, I discussed the white cloth used to cover the bread and water sitting atop the sacrament table. Just as the emblems of Christ’s atoning sacrifice remain covered – completely hidden – beneath the cloth until the moment they are blessed and passed to us, so Christ’s mercy and grace is hidden from us until the very moment we need them. Not the moment we think we need His help. Rather, the very moment He knows we need it.

I love that symbolism, but there is more to the sacrament cloth than that.

On the Sunday morning of Christ’s resurrection, the apostles Peter and John ran to the tomb after hearing Mary’s witness. When Peter entered the empty chamber he found the linen clothes used to wrap Jesus’ body, apparently simply left where they were when Jesus rose.

Not long ago, if you’d asked me about the state of those linen clothes, I would have said they were folded neatly. But they weren’t – at least the Bible doesn’t say they were. In fact, only one part of the linen clothes had been folded and carefully placed:

“And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.” (John 20:7, emphasis added)

I find it really interesting that it was only the cloths covering the Saviour’s head that had been folded neatly. He was happy to leave the fabric covering His body where it was, but took especial care with those that had covered His head. There must be a reason for that. And the fact that the apostle John specifically references this is unlikely to be accidental. What was so special about the head cloths? Continue reading


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A White Covering

This is a continuation of my series of posts discussing the ordinance of the sacrament within the LDS faith. The first post, Remembering Him, is here.

Image © 2015, Intellectual Reserve, Inc

Image © 2015, Intellectual Reserve, Inc

In my last post, Our Modern Altars, I talked about the table upon which the bread and water of the sacrament is placed. A table which serves as a modern altar for us. Today I’m going to discuss the cloth covering the same bread and water.

I started preparing this post thinking that one would be enough to talk about the significance and symbolism of the sacrament cloth, but it has developed so much I’ll need to take two. So this is part 1.

Indeed, there is so much to ponder when considering the sacrament cloth it’s difficult to know where to start. So perhaps it’s best to start with the Church handbook.

“Sacrament tablecloths should be white, nontransparent, clean, and pressed.” (Handbook 2, Administering the Church, 20.4.2)

It would be easy to read this sentence and think that only the colour of the cloth is symbolic, white being the symbolic colour of purity; the other requirements being primarily signs of respect. And while having a clean and pressed cloth certainly does show respect, there is more to it than that. Continue reading