All Things Witness

Thoughts on the mission and power of Jesus Christ


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The Weakness Which is in Me

Man sitting against a wallMy wife and I have to take it in turns to attend church on Sundays and this week it was my turn, which I always enjoy.

Being the first Sunday of the month, our congregational meeting was a bit different from normal in that any members of the congregation are permitted to walk to the pulpit and share their feelings of the Saviour and of His gospel. Today’s meeting was particularly enjoyable, and I came away feeling uplifted and with my own testimony of Christ strengthened.

During the meeting there was something our Bishop said that really chimed with some thoughts I’ve been having lately, and that was about limitations. He was talking about the balancing act he has to give between his family, his employment, and his calling as Bishop, and how it can be really hard to get right. This is especially true when one of these cranks the volume up and demands more attention. Continue reading


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Endowed with Power

The Sacrament is such a beautiful ordinance. In previous posts, I’ve already talked about how each element of it reminds us of Christ. In so many ways it draws us to Him. The bread, broken that we might eat; the water/wine, poured that we might drink. These things remind us of His body willingly broken, and His blood freely spilt, that we might be made whole.

Likewise the table, the cloth, the priests, and more, all remind us of Him and the grace He so fully offers us. The prayers themselves are no different, and offer us a far greater opportunity to ponder His wondrous sacrifice than perhaps we realise.

In the next couple of posts, I’ll be sharing my thoughts and feelings on that short phrase appearing early in both prayers, “to bless and sanctify”. Continue reading


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A Man of Sorrows

In my last post, I talked about sadness – and my own lack thereof – and how it is a necessary part of our life, ultimately allowing us to receive a greater happiness.

I thought at the time that it was a distinct topic from my series on the sacrament (you can read the posts in that series here). But as I sat in church today listening to the sacrament prayers, I realised that wasn’t the case. Obviously, all gospel topics are inter-related in some ways, but this was more so than I had imagined.

To bless and sanctify. Bread and Water. Emblems of His death and suffering. To our souls. Hmm.

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My Psalm of Sadness

I don’t feel sad.

I don’t mean just at this moment – although I don’t feel sad at this moment. I don’t even mean in the last week or month. I simply don’t feel sad, well, ever.

The last time I remember feeling sad and crying was when I was 8 years old. I was living in Australia, and my big sister had just got married and left the country. I remember crying that night because Debbie had left me. My parents, brother and three other sisters were still around, but somehow my big sister leaving made me sad. That was 40 years ago.

I’ve had numerous events in my life since then that should have made me sad, of course. And when others learn of them they are often sad for me.

As I’ve spoken of before, I’ve suffered from pretty serious bouts of depression through the years too. But my depression isn’t sadness – it’s hollow (although discussion of that is for another day). I feel depression. I don’t feel sadness.

Now, you might be thinking that not being able to feel sad sounds great. No tears, no bursting of the chest, no… whatever you feel when you’re sad. But it isn’t. Because sadness is an important emotion that helps us process important events in our lives.

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Two Prayers

When I started this series about the LDS ordinance of the sacrament, I thought it would take me two posts to cover the sacrament prayer. As I sat down to dissect the prayers into areas I wanted to cover, however, I realised that it was going to take longer than that. So this is the first of, well, several short articles about the sacrament prayers themselves. If you want to see a list of all of the topics on the sacrament covered so far, go here.

As I’ve said before, the prayer on the sacrament must be word perfect. Any mistake must be remedied, and the Priest will repeat the prayer until every word spoken is correct. I love the symbolism of that.

Yes, we are commanded to be perfect even as the resurrected Christ, or His Father in Heaven, are perfect (3 Nephi 12:48). But we can’t actually achieve that. Not any of us. We all make mistakes and transgress the laws the Lord has given us.

But that’s okay. Because of the atonement of Christ, the emblems of which are displayed on the sacrament table, we can all partake of His grace, repent, and start again. No matter how many times we’ve failed, we can try again. Thus, even with our imperfections, we can keep this commandment by being “perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:33).

Indeed, we can only obey this commandment to be perfect through our Saviour and Redeemer, and the requirement for perfection in the prayers on the sacrament is a beautiful metaphor for that. Continue reading


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Beautiful Irony

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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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Remembering Him

Original photo 'Bread and Wine', copyright ingridhs

Original photo ‘Bread and Wine’, copyright ingridhs

On His final mortal night with His specially chosen disciples, Jesus shared a Passover meal; introducing a new rite with bread and wine. The event itself has become known as the Last Supper. The new ordinance Christ introduced that night continues in most Christian churches today, and is usually called Communion, or the Eucharist. Within the LDS tradition, it is called the Sacrament.

A few months ago I posted a short poem about the Sacrament, but I’d like to spend a little more time sharing more of my thoughts and feelings on this beautiful ordinance, looking more broadly at the ordinance’s introduction before specifically looking at some of the symbolism used. I will specifically be looking at the LDS ‘version’ of the Sacrament, but I think many of the principles could have application in other faiths, too. If you’re not LDS and have questions about any differences, please feel free to send me a message or add a comment and I’ll be happy to reply.

The New Testament account of the introduction of the Sacrament shows us how the Saviour adapted it from the Passover meal, linking so beautifully the old law with the new. Jesus didn’t destroy the Law of Moses when He came. Rather, He brought with Him new light; new understanding; more blessings. It was a transition from one true gospel to a higher version of the same. His teachings of the Sacrament to His disciples were amongst the last He gave. It’s worth thinking about that. He had spent three years ministering, teaching and healing. Over that time He had carefully expanded the spiritual horizons of his chosen Apostles; giving them line upon line. And at the end of that time, when the Atonement itself lay immediately before Him and He would soon depart mortality, He taught them of the Sacrament. Continue reading


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Yearning for Heaven

armsOver the years, I’ve learned loads of things at Church. In my adult years, though – like many life-long members of the LDS Church I’m sure – very little has come from the actual words spoken in meetings and lessons. Because those who speak to, or teach us, in Church have to cater for a wide range of gospel understanding, our lessons and sermons tend to be fairly basic in content; with lessons getting recycled every four years.

I still enjoy them, though, for a couple of reasons. First, on odd occasions I’m able to make a contribution to a topic which I hope others find helpful (certainly others make contributions which I find helpful). Second – and relevant for this post – the things I learn are most often from words that are not audible. They are from the words and feelings that come directly into my mind.

That was the case today. The sermons in our main worship meeting were on the subject of prayer and while what the speakers had to say was good, there was something else I learned on the subject; something they didn’t talk about. A phrase came directly to my mind which cause me to ponder quite deeply; to examine myself and my approach to prayer. It is something which will change the way I approach my Heavenly Father when I kneel before him in my solitude. It affects the power of my prayers. Continue reading


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The Holy Ghost and Depression

Sunlight on green fieldsThis post is a little more rambling than usual, so I apologise for that. Hopefully I’ll still be able to make the point I want to.

I often think that when we get to the next life and see things as they really are; when the scales of our mortal blindness fall from our eyes, that we will be surprised with both how much simpler things were than we thought, as well as how much more complex. If that sounds contradictory, let me explain.

We spend our lives running to and fro. We have gadgets that improve our efficiency, but the result is we feel pressure to get ever more done. Our children must be in after-school clubs. We must be available for our employers 24/7. Work is increasingly demanding, while so are the requirements to fit society’s standards of good parenting. And then we add church responsibilities, social activities, and so on, and so on. We spend so much time and effort on these things when our main purpose in life is really the much simpler “Come, follow me.” Not easy, for sure, but simple. I’m sure that when I kneel at a future day before my Saviour and look back at my mortal journey I will say some variation of “Oops”, as I recognise how much time and stress I wasted on things that really didn’t matter. Continue reading