Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Undercurrents


I had heard of Jesus Christ. I knew “of” him. Kind of like how I knew “of” the popular kids at school. I had heard of Mormons. I had laughed at the jokes people made about them. At that time, I did not know there was any connection between the two.

Then one day two girls my age knocked on the door. They held that little blue book with the word “Mormon” on it. This was my chance to do some investigating, to find out from the horse's mouth exactly what these Mormons were all about.

I learned much more than who Jesus is. I learned what scripture is. I learned what prophets are. I learned the purposes of life.

First, missionaries taught me. Then, I learned by attending meetings and classes at church every Sunday. Eventually, I began to study on my own at home. I used the Bible, which I now understood to be the word of God's people in the Holy Land. I used the Book of Mormon, which I had easily accepted as the word of God's people in the American Continent. I used talks from conferences and other meetings, and began to seek out books written by prophets and apostles since the restoration.

Studying the words of others, I learned. The knowledge became mine. Now, I can share words of my own to spread the message of Christ, and to allow my life to be a light; a candlestick to light the room, a city on the hill which cannot be hid.

My message today is about Easter.

Easter is a celebration of victory. Victory over death. Victory over sin, which separates us from the presence of God. This victory was won by our Savior, who loved us so much he used his life here to prove his power, then to prove that he would not use that power to stop the abuses he was about to endure. He had to endure to prove that we were so important to him that he would put all of us before himself. He, a god, served his life for us. He, a god, gave his life for us.

That first Easter, Jesus gave to us two gifts. One is a freebie. Immortality. Every single person born to the earth will be restored to their bodies in its perfect and immortal state of being. No matter when you lived. No matter what you did. Is that a little hard to swallow? This is the victory over death.

The second gift can only be given when we have readied ourselves to receive it. This is the gift of Eternal Life. This is not just living eternally, as is indicated by the first gift. This is gaining the Glory which allows us to be in the presence of our Heavenly Father. This is the victory over sin.

Believing in Christ can open your life to a joy that nothing else in this world can replicate. If you believe that you know all there is to know about Christ, you have shut the door to gaining further understanding, and thereby a fulness of joy.

As a person who has been studying the Gospel for 20 years, I can tell you that the learning never stops. There is always more. Some believe that the heavens have been shut. That the Bible is the only word of God. That the only prophets were the ancient prophets.

As a person who is actively trying to work out my own salvation, may I emphatically claim that this does not make sense? Do you have children? Do you provide for just your first and second born and then shut yourself off from the third and fourth? What kind of a game plan involves coaching only the players in the first half of the game, and then completely abandoning the players in the last half? What is so durned scary about the existence of holy scriptures that have been saved for the restoration of the Lord's church?

When God saved his people, the Israelites, from their enslavement to Pharoah, He must have desired to endow them with His full Gospel. Instead, He had to give them a lesser law; a preparatory law, because that was all they were able to bear at the time.

In these latter days, this final dispensation before Christ returns to claim his kingdom, we have been given the higher law. We have been given a collection of scripture which has not been defiled by thousands of years of reinterpretation by men whose hearts were far from God. We have been given the chance to ready ourselves for that gift of Eternal Life. Eternal Life which exists because of eternal laws.

God lives in harmony with eternal laws because He is pure love and pure righteousness. Just as you want your children to live a happy life full of joy and success, Father wants us to gain a fulness of joy and live an Eternal Life. Just as you are there for your children on a daily basis trying to help them make sense of this earthly life, Father is there providing as much knowledge as we are ready to bear. Those who will not receive this gift will have effectively weeded themselves out.

The only one who can prevent you from receiving the gift of Eternal Life is you. Father promises that if we seek Him with honest intent and a true heart, it shall be answered unto us. But, the Lord “can only teach an inquiring mind.” (Russell M. Nelson) If you have decided that all the questions have been answered you have effectively shut the heavens on yourself. May I tell you, with utter excitement, that there is SO MUCH more to learn about our Savior!

Now, back to Easter. If you were to visit my home, you would see that my house is not adorned with cute Easter decorations. My table is not laden with a ham, a turkey, and pies galore. My body is not covered by a fuzzy Easter-egg sweater and matching earrings. You may, justifiably because of the world we live in, judge for yourself that Easter must not be very important to me.

May I please now assure you that I believe in Christ's resurrection? I feel immense jubilation in my heart because the sinless Son of Man was willing to be my substitute on the altar. He paid the demands of justice so that I could overcome my own separation from God.

My celebration of Easter is happening within my heart as I ponder the significance of taking on someone else's suffering; of spilling one's blood so that another wouldn't have to.

Easter is unfolding for our family as we discuss with our children the last week of Jesus's life. The celebration is felt when we sing an Easter hymn and the Spirit whispers to our souls, “It's true!”

The true meaning of Easter elevates itself above the dying of eggs and bunny-shaped chocolate as we figure out how all this applies to us on a personal level.

If you have made it as far as this sentence, thank you! Thank you for allowing me to share the knowledge I have worked so hard to gain.

I pray the Spirit has been able to communicate with you on this special day, in the way that only He knows best, because only He knows you best.






Morgan's mascots. They're thunderbolts.




Mine- 99% eclipse



Nicking eggs.

No chance.

Defend yourself.
 Morgan won the egg-nicking battle. (With one of my eggs. Ha)

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