All Things Witness

Thoughts on the mission and power of Jesus Christ


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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


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Our Modern Altars

Image © Copyright, Intellectual Reserve Incorporated

I’ve written about the Sacrament on a couple of occasions before. The last time more than 18 months ago, and in it I promised my next posts would be looking at this wonderful ordinance in more detail. Ahem… well, a lot has happened during those 18 months. Sorry for the delay.

And as I sat in my Church meetings today and listened once again to the words of the Sacrament, I felt I needed to continue on from that post so long ago.

For us in the LDS faith, the Sacrament consists of the communal sharing of broken bread and cups of water, and is directly derived from the Last Supper. In other faiths it may be called the Eucharist or Communion. They all share similarities. Thus, although I am focussing my discussion on the LDS sacramental rites, many aspects may hold meaning for other faiths too.

The New Testament account of the Lord’s Last Supper in the Gospel of Matthew is short:

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)

We’ll look more closely at these words in a later post. But for the moment it is worth reminding ourselves that this was the last act Jesus took with his chosen Disciples before He went to Gethsemane. It was the culmination of His teachings to them. Continue reading


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A Faithful Perspective on the Problem of Evil (part 3)

The Famished ChildSadly enough… it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.” (Elder Jeffrey R Holland, The Cost – and Blessings – of Discipleship)

This is the third (and final) post in a series on the Problem of Evil, specifically looking at three fallacies that are inherent within the problem (at least as it is usually described). Continue reading


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The Journey – An Allegory

6261718098_48baf2fc8f_nThere once lived a young couple recently married. With their small baby daughter they lived in a temporary dwelling in a hot desert. There were many thousands of people who shared similar accommodation nearby, and over time it became apparent that food and other necessities would not continue to arrive to support the population.

When the people had arrived at the town they had been informed of a Kindly Man who had established this area as a temporary shelter, and that he would send a message when it was time to move on, with instructions as to what the people should do.

As time passed, and supplies dwindled, many began to believe that the story of the Kindly Man was nothing more than a myth. Consequently some individuals and families around them started to move out into the desert, following promises of sustenance, and even opulence, elsewhere. But the couple recognised such promises as nothing more than vague rumours, and the routes people were taking uncertain. They considered it would be foolish to follow such rumours into the desolate wilderness, and so they waited with little more than a hope that the Kindly Man was real, and that he would send the promised message before life’s necessities vanished and they, along with their precious baby, perished. Continue reading


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A Frozen Thank You

With two daughters, Disney princess films are a regular feature in our home.  In fact, as I write this we have one on (one of the Little Mermaid sequels).  To be fair, our boys tend to enjoy them too, but I Frozenheartannadoubt they would admit that to their friends.

The most recent Disney film, Frozen, has attracted quite a lot of attention by those who argue both it is a pro and anti-religion film.  I personally doubt very much that the writers or company had any religious intent whatsoever, but as it was on (again) the other day, it struck me that there are some beautiful themes in the film that work well as an allegory. Continue reading


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A Chosen Witness

Last year I was asked to write something as part of a Church Easter programme.  My taskGethsemane was to write as if I were the Apostle James, watching Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. The writing below is the outcome of that effort.  Although I tried hard to use the scriptural account from the New Testament gospels as the starting point, it is of course a work of fiction, but is how I imagine one of the Apostles might relate the events of that evening.

How grateful I am that we have witnesses both past and present. Continue reading


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Night’s Reminders

Moon and Stars

As we start this Easter week I post the poem below, in which I do my best to sum up some of my feelings about what happened during that week so long ago. The central act of eternity began on the Thursday night, and so the poem concentrates on that evening.

As I ponder the events of that evening, I imagine the night being very still, with stars shining – the universe itself almost holding its breath Continue reading


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A Mother’s Love

MotherToday is Mother’s Day in the UK. In the LDS Church we place a high value on families, and I am fortunate to have been born to two loving parents, including a mother who has taught me patience and compassion, and who I always knew throughout my growing up years would always be there for me. I know that sadly not all children can say the same.  I don’t know why I was fortunate to have been born in such a loving family, but I am grateful nonetheless. Continue reading