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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Sacred Time and Sacred Space

            Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave an extraordinary talk at the October 2017 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was one of many powerful talks given at the conference, and one of countless influential talks that he has given. This talk was extraordinary because I remember it well.

            In his talk entitled “Exceeding Great and Precious Promises,” Elder Bednar spoke about sacred times and sacred spaces. He spoke specifically about the Sabbath day and the holy temple. He connected this sacred time and this sacred place in a way that I had never considered previously. This connection helped me to remember his counsel in an extraordinary way.

The Sabbath day and the holy temple are two specific sources of divine help instituted by God to assist us in rising above the level and corruption of the world. We initially may think that the overarching purposes of keeping the Sabbath day holy and attending the temple are related but distinctive. I believe, however, that those two purposes are precisely the same and work together to strengthen us spiritually as individuals and in our homes.

After God created all things, He rested on the seventh day and commanded that one day each week be a time of rest to help people remember Him. The Sabbath is God’s time, a sacred time specifically set apart for worshipping Him and for receiving and remembering His great and precious promises….

Thus, on the Sabbath we worship the Father in the name of the Son by participating in ordinances and learning about, receiving, remembering, and renewing covenants. On His holy day, our thoughts, actions, and demeanor are signs we give to God and an indicator of our love for Him.

An additional purpose of the Sabbath is to elevate our vision from the things of the world to the blessings of eternity….

The Lord always has commanded His people to build temples, holy places in which worthy Saints perform sacred gospel ceremonies and ordinances for themselves and for the dead. Temples are the most holy of all places of worship. A temple literally is the house of the Lord, a sacred space specifically set apart for worshipping God and for receiving and remembering His great and precious promises….

A principal purpose of the temple is to elevate our vision from the things of the world to the blessings of eternity….

Please note that the Sabbath day and the temple, respectively, are a sacred time and a sacred space specifically set apart for worshipping God and for receiving and remembering His exceeding great and precious promises to His children. As instituted by God, the principal purposes of these two divine sources of help are exactly the same: to powerfully and repeatedly focus our attention upon our Heavenly Father, His Only Begotten Son, the Holy Ghost, and the promises associated with the ordinances and covenants of the Savior’s restored gospel.

            Elder Bednar continued his talk by connecting the Sabbath day and the holy temple to the home. It is not enough just to go to the temple or to just go to Sunday meetings. We must bring the spirit of the temple and the Sabbath day into our homes.

Importantly, a home should be the ultimate combination of time and space wherein individuals and families remember most effectively God’s great and precious promises. Leaving our homes to spend time in Sunday meetings and to enter the sacred space of a temple is vital but insufficient. Only as we bring the spirit and strength derived from those holy activities back with us into our homes can we sustain our focus upon the great purposes of mortal life and overcome the corruption that is in the world. Our Sabbath and temple experiences should be spiritual catalysts that imbue individuals and families and our homes with continual reminders of key lessons learned, with the presence and power of the Holy Ghost, with ongoing and deepening conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ, and with “a perfect brightness of hope” in God’s eternal promises.

            We held our stake conference a week or two after the general conference of the Church. Our stake president reminded us of Elder Bednar’s talk and possibly quoted from it. He explained that he had been pondering Elder Bednar’s words and wondered what we should do when we cannot be in the sacred place and time. He then realized that we can make the spirit of the Sabbath and the temple portable.

            We can feel as if we are in a sacred time or space by being worthy to have the Holy Ghost with us. We should still attend our Sunday meetings and the temple, but we can enjoy the same feelings that we feel in those places wherever we go. This is because it is the presence of the Holy Ghost that makes those times and places sacred. Whenever or wherever we feel the Holy Ghost, we can know that we are in a sacred time and space.

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