Today was a great day at church.
I worked on one of the action steps in Step 7:
Seek for the power of the Savior’s Atonement to become effective in your personal life by meditating on the sacrament prayers.
As I listened to the sacrament prayer, I thought about this challenge so I opened up my scriptures and read it again to myself in first person. One of the questions that has stumped me a bit is the phrase “take upon myself the name of Christ”.
I think there are various meanings for this phrase so I started cross-referencing some of the ideas. One of the best explanations I found was in 2 Nephi 31:
10 And he said unto the children of men: aFollow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we bfollow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?
11 And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son.
12 And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father agive the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, bfollow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.
13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall afollow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no bhypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real cintent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are dwilling to take upon you the ename of Christ, by fbaptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the gbaptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the htongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should adeny me, it would have been bbetter for you that ye had not known me.
To me, there are some obvious things here and some not so obvious things too. First the obvious:
- We take upon us the name of Christ at baptism
- After baptism, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which testifies of the Son
Maybe the next points are pretty obvious too, but they make more sense to me now than ever before:
- Baptism is only the first step – to really “take upon myself the name of Christ” means that “…[I am] willing…” – not only willing to be baptized by water and by fire, but also willing to follow Christ and His teachings throughout this life, be willing to ENDURE to the END.
It seems to make more sense now why it’s so important to renew my covenants each week via the sacrament: it’s a way to show God and the Savior that I am willing to recommit on a consistent basis to the baptism I did when I was 8 years old.
I’m grateful for this better understanding of what it means to take the name of Christ upon me.
One Other Experience Today
I teach 10 and 11 year old boys now in primary. Pete, Cameron, Bailey, Colten, Spencer W, Spencer M, Dominique, Mason, Logan, Hayden, and JT were the boys there today. It wasn’t my turn to teach so I hadn’t really looked over the lesson too much (1st mistake).
When we got to class, the first thing my team teacher did was asked who wanted to go out to the car with him to get treats. I didn’t think much of it, thought maybe it was an object lesson or something – NOPE.
He proceeded to eat with the boys and kind of nonchalantly talk about a few scriptures from the lesson. He also was dinking around with his cell phone from time to time too – WHAT? The purpose of the lesson was to teach the boys about the importance of serving the Lord – of which, to me, the teacher didn’t touch on at all. Yes, there was some inner resentment on my part.
In the past I may have said something in front of the whole class to make the teacher look pretty stupid, or at least I would have said something direct and to the point afterward to call him on his lack of preparation and care. BUT, I feel I’ve made a bit of progress because instead, I said a few little prayers during the lesson to endure and know how to best handle things.
The teacher “finished up” with about 15 minutes to spare. One of the boys actually went and got a vacuum because there was a MESS from all the treats he brought in.
I started asking the boys questions about missions: why we go, where their dad’s had gone, what we do, etc.
I asked one question about why we teach and what that does. The point came out that the teacher can be the best learner because, as he teaches, he learns so much more than even the students (this was in some ways directed at my team teacher, but I didn’t necessarily mean it to be).
I proceeded to tell them the story of the service family. I told them how we had been having no luck knocking doors in Lo Espejo. Many of the people were members but inactive. I mentioned that we happened to be reading about the story of Ammon and how he became a servant to King Lamoni and ended up baptizing thousands because of the acts of service he did FIRST.
I went on to share what happened with the Familia Ramirez Catalan and how, after our initial service projects, they softened their hearts and ended up joining the church. I also shared how Enrique is now a bishop in the Lo Espejo ward. I then testified of the power of service.
I really feel the “intuition” to share that story came because I sought what Heavenly Father would have me do instead of acting on my own resentments and pride.
I hope that it not only had an effect on the young boys, but also on my team teacher, who is preparing to serve a mission soon. I know the whole experience had a direct impact on me: I felt so good for recognizing my tendency to criticize and correct, I felt good that I submitted my will to God and let Him direct my path, I felt good that I was able to share something that correlated with the lesson and hopefully helped the boys understand why service is so important.
I love the Atonement and the Plan of Happiness.
I love my family.
Beck and I had the chance to pick up Caleb and Madi tonight in Layton where we met Mom and Dad for a Father’s Day dinner at the close of the kids’ “summer vacation”. It was great to see them and share time together.