One Sunday morning our teenaged son stood with two other priests to administer the sacrament, as they had done on many prior occasions. They pulled back the white cloth, but to their dismay there was no bread. One of them slipped out to the preparation room in hopes some could be found. There was none. Finally our troubled son made his way to the bishop and shared the concern with him. A wise bishop then stood, explained the situation to the congregation, and asked, “How would it be if the sacrament table were empty today because there were no atonement?”
I have thought of that often— what would it be like if there were no bread because there had been no crucifixion, no water because there had been no shedding of blood?
If there had been no Atonement, what would the consequences be to us? Of course, the question is now moot, but it does put in perspective our total dependence on the Lord. To ask and answer this question only heightens our awareness of, and appreciation for, the Savior. What might have been, even for the “righteous,” if there had been no atoning sacrifice, stirs the very depths of human emotion.