Please, Take it Personally

It’s amazing to me how even after going to church for over 40 years I can still learn things about the parts that are generally the most routine. In this case it’s the Sacrament. This ordinance is done weekly in meetinghouses of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Guests are welcome to attend and participate and the methods for preparing the ordinance are very similar to those found in other Christian faiths.

Regardless of the faith there is a personal connection between the bread representing the Savior’s sacrifice and ourselves. There’s a personal connection between us and what we put in our bodies. There’s something beautiful we can do when we take the sacrament personally.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks once observed that “because it is broken and torn, each piece of bread is unique, just as the individuals who partake of it are unique. We all have different sins to repent of. We all have different needs to be strengthened through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we remember in this ordinance.”

The Living Bread Which Came Down from Heaven

זָכַר :: Remember

The fulcrum of many sentences are the verbs that show the action.  In Luke 22:44 we see the crucial verb of Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane as the verb to pray.  Thus salvation is dependent upon the power of prayer and we should change how we think of the power of prayer in our own lives.

The verb in the sacrament prayer used in worship services of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on a single verb, remember.  The verb must be understood with its English meaning, particularly the English meaning at the time of the translation of the Book of Mormon.  That leads us to use Webster’s 1828 to approximate the meaning of this word in context of the prayer in which it is used.

REMEMBER

1. To have in the mind an idea which had been in the mind before, and which recurs to the mind without effort.
We are said to remember any thing, when the idea of it arises in the mind with the consciousness that we have had this idea before.
2. When we use effort to recall an idea, we are said to recollect it. This distinction is not always observed. Hence remember is often used as synonymous with recollect, that is, to call to mind. We say, we cannot remember a fact, when we mean, we cannot recollect it.
Remember the days of old. Deuteronomy 32:7.
3. To bear or keep in mind; to attend to.
Remember what I warn thee; shun to taste.
4. To preserve the memory of; to preserve from being forgotten.
Let them have their wages duly paid, and something over to rememberme.
5. To mention. [Not in use.]
6. To put in mind; to remind; as, to remember one of his duty. [Not in use.]
7. To think of and consider; to meditate. Psalms 63:6.
8. To bear in mind with esteem; or to reward. Ecclesiastes 9:15.
9. To bear in mind with praise or admiration; to celebrate. 1 Chronicles 16:12.
10. To bear in mind with favor, care, and regard for the safety or deliverance of any one. Psalms 74:2Genesis 8:1Genesis 19:29.
11. To bear in mind with intent to reward or punish.
John 10:1Jeremiah 31:20.
12. To bear in mind with confidence; to trust in. Psa 20.
13. To bear in mind with the purpose of assisting or relieving. Galatians 2:10.
14. To bear in mind with reverence; to obey.
Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. Ecclesiastes 12:1.
15. To bear in mind with regard; to keep as sacred; to observe.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exodus 20:8.
To remember mercy, is to exercise it. Habakkuk 3:2.

Webster’s 1828 is not a perfect dictionary by any means. Even if it was there is a benefit to researching the heritage of the word in human history. For this, we can look up the Hebrew word translated into remember from.

Our first appearance of the word Remember in the King James Version of the Bible is in Genesis 9:15. This verse reads:

And I will remember my covenantwhich is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

The verb remember in this context refers to a covenant–a term LDS readers of this blog are familiar with. Yet, they may not be familiar with the Hebrew word used for remember in the verse, zawkar. Strong’s definition gives us this answer (bold added).

זָכַר zâkar, zaw-kar’; a primitive root; also as denominative from H2145 properly, to mark (so as to be recognized), i.e. to remember; by implication, to mention;

The idea of marking to be recognized flows well into Isaiah 29:16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.  

He remembered us for the moments he spent with us in Gethsemane and asks us to remember him for all the moments in our lives. We are asked to come to the Sacrament ordinance with a broken heart and a contrite spirit so we can be marked for recognition. If we allow this to happen, then we can truly look as Moroni did to the time when we shall meet Christ again as “the pleasing bar of the Great Jehovah.”

He will remember us.