With a baby’s pure spirit to guide us back to a time when we were in the presence of our Heavenly Father, the sacrament can be a time to seek what He would have us do and be as we become our healthy best.
We took our little grandkids, Bracken (3 1/2), Abbie (2), and Tate (9 months) to the zoo last weekend. What a good time! I thought of us when we arrived at the elephant house just in time to see a female being weighed. No matter WHAT the scale might say, we’re featherweights! As the elephant shifted her weight on the platform/cage, the digital numbers fluctuated between 4,384 – 4,840+ … I couldn’t help but laugh thinking of how picky I am when the scale seems to be even a pound above my expectations!
They say an elephant never forgets, and perhaps the image of that fluctuating scale will help you remember your goals throughout the next week, until you get to Sunday and a sweeter, better way to remember your potential.
Today’s Scripture: “Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived, seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given.
(D&C 46: 8)
Not too long ago, our family sat behind a young family with a one-year old son. His entire little being radiates a remarkable intelligence and spirit and his endearing grin brightens the day for everyone.
As the beautiful strains of the sacrament hymn began, he faced our family, using the back of the bench to steady himself to stand reverently and watch us sing. Sensing the importance of the sacrament, he became even more still as the bread was blessed. I opened my eyes to see him staring intently at my husband. Their eyes met and locked. Though no word was spoken, volumes of the importance of earth life were shared as the deacons quietly began to pass the bread.
Then it was my turn as he shifted his bright blue eyes to mine.
“Do you remember?” He seemed to say as he looked deep into my own eyes. “Do you remember when you were a baby? Do you remember, as I still sometimes do, what it was like before we came here? Do you remember saying goodbye and what was said to you?”
Although I’ve often thought of our farewells on the other side of the veil, his incredible eyes left me pondering anew. LDS stories and musicals such as “Saturday’s Warrior” have attempted to recreate this scene, often with comic celestial administrators and humorous mishaps that keep everyone laughing. Since this particular Sacrament Meeting, however, my imagination has gone another way.
Though we’ll never know for sure until we return (and then, I’m quite sure it will feel as familiar as returning to our own homes after a short trip), I have a feeling that it was similar to the goodbyes every loving parent gives for a short play date, a week at camp, or launching independent lives as young adults on missions, school or careers. There would surely have been similar reminders, warnings, affectionate personal hugs, assignments and encouraging words.
This precious baby confirmed to me that the sacrament is the perfect time to reconsider our own personal farewell, from the pre-mortal world and the love and confidence that were surely imparted to each of us at that time. Today’s scripture from the Doctrine & Covenants Section 46 directly follows several verses of instructions for sacrament meetings. To me this implies that we can use this verse to guide our thoughts during the sacrament for whatever renewal we may personally need.
“Beware, lest ye are deceived,” it says referring to verse 7 (which directly precedes this admonition):
But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, which giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men, for some are of men, and others are of devils (D&C 46:7).
For those of us who struggle with healthy eating and the overabundance of non-nutritious food, the advertising and marketing that makes it so appealing could easily be considered to be spiritually deceptive and seductive. Slogans such as ” food for the fun of it ,” ” the fastest way to unwrap a smile ,” and ” we wanna make you smile ” are powerful subliminal messages that the foods they advertise will make life better and happier. In small portions, for appropriate occasions, that may be true to a small, non-essential degree. Learning to discern when those foods have their allotted place, however, is where the sacrament comes in.
The sacrament is a time to review and repent of our sins, renew our baptismal covenants and remember the Savior’s atonement and sacrifice for us. Eating junk foods would not be considered a sin. However, taking advantage of our wonderful bodies through overindulging, and ingratitude for the miracles that our bodies are, may be. If so, the sacrament is a perfect time to express a desire to be respectful of this great gift and to do better.
Furthermore, the verse continues, “Seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering what they are for …” Could it be that in addition to the sacrament being a time to review, repent and commit, it could also be a time for seeking to determine our own gifts and assignments? And what they are for? Could it be a time to pray for and visualize the confidence, self-development and service we can provide for others when we are fulfilling our potential and the measure of our individual creation, unencumbered by extra pounds or habits?
As the months have passed since that remarkable sacrament with this precious baby, these thoughts have been nurtured in my own spirit. I hope today’s empowerment and assignments will help make a difference for you and your path to health and peace.
Today’s Empowerment: When doubts and detours, sins, stains and sorrows to master my appetite and achieve a healthy weight abound, I use the sacrament to remind myself of my Heavenly Father’s confidence in me from before my birth and the importance of healthy living to serve Him.
Today’s Journal Prompt/Discussion Starters
- Find a baby photo of yourself to put in a prominent place as a reminder of your innocence and Heavenly Father’s love and confidence in you.
- Using your patriarchal blessing as a guide, what are your gifts? What are they for?
- Does healthy living and/or a healthy weight play a part in fulfilling these blessings?
- Prepare for making the most of next week’s Sacrament meeting by reviewing D&C 46: 7-8.
Today’s Recipe: Jamileh’s Cucumber Salad
(Serves 4 at about 75 calories)
This delicious recipe comes from a dear roommate back in my single days in Washington, D.C. She was one of the first members of the Church in Iran in the mid-70’s.
Make sure you leave time for the flavors to blend in the refrigerator before serving. She’d serve it in tall, frosted dishes, and it was SO good on a hot summer day!
2 medium cucumbers
2 green onions (with tops) chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. snipped cilantro or parsley
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Dash of freshly ground pepper
1 cup plain yogurt
Cut cucumbers lengthwise into halves. Scoop out seeds and discard. Chop cucumbers.
Mix cucumbers with green onions and salt; let stand 10 minutes. Add tomatoes.
Mix in remaining ingredients, except yogurt. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour. Drain thoroughly and fold in yogurt just before serving.
2 g Dietary Fiber, 76 Calories, 0 g Fat