The Poetic Corner: That Easter Morn

That Easter Morn

 

the bitter cup, a lonely road

this path He walked, His love to show

for us our pains upon Him laid

for us our sins He freely paid

for you and me…

Gethsemane was the place prepared to free

those who’ve won and those who’ve lost

in summer’s warmth, in winter’s frost

no matter where, no matter what

He bled so He could strengthen us

this is what i’ve seen in me

the love of Christ in Gethsemane

 

a single cross, a barren hill

His sacrifice, His hearbeat still

like Moses raised the serpent up

so Christ hung on the cross for us

raised up for you, raised up for me

He died for all on Calvary

and all who turn and look to Him

can cast away their pain and sin

and all with open eyes to see

are filled with Spirit wind to breathe

it’s what i’ve felt

it’s what i’ve seen

upon the cross on Calvary

 

a stone rolled back, an empty tomb

the risen Christ, the dead renewed

the grave, its maw a fleeting thought

for Christ the Lord has conquered death

he died for us, yet now He lives

His breath of life can breathe within

to lift our heads and take our sin

to raise us too and live again

 

i know that my Redeemer lives

the joy this brings i can’t begin

to ever think i could describe

just how this truth affects my life

my breath, my strength, the love i feel

is only here because He’s real

in Him my spirit is reborn

because He rose that Easter morn

To keep the emphasis on the poem, I’ll make this simple. I love my Savior and I know that He lives. Jesus Christ atoned for the sins and pains of all mankind. Male and female. Rich and poor. Everyone. He did so because He loves each and every one of us unconditionally. I can’t fully comprehend how that works, but I know it’s true. Jesus Christ lives, and because He rose from the dead, we will be redeemed from death as well. Because He suffered for our sins, we may repent and be forgiven. Our sins can be washed away.

The eggs and such are great. They are part of the fun, but this Easter season, reflect upon this important truth: Christ did die for us, but now He lives for us.

The Cross and the Open Tomb

So, maybe you’ve wondered why there are no crosses on or inside LDS church buildings, or why Mormons typically don’t wear crosses. In fact, as most have noticed, we tend to have nothing to do with the cross in terms of using it as a symbol. Well, that’s for a couple of reasons. I’d like to try and explain why this is. It’s really quite simple, so pay attention.

Mormons don’t despise the cross in any way. We don’t believe it is a bad thing or something of evil that we must stay away from. It’s simply not something that we do. We recognize and teach the importance of Christ’s crucifixion. In no way do we lessen the significance of that event. It is, after all, a part of Christ’s Atonement.

With that in mind, why don’t we use the cross as an outward symbol? For one thing, we don’t believe that we need a symbol like that to let others see that we are Christians. Honestly, I think my behavior should reflect my belief in Christ, not a pendant on a necklace or even a fish on my car. If a cross is what you rely on to let people know you believe in Jesus Christ, then you… have some things to change about yourself. Just saying.

We also prefer not to place a symbol of death at the center of our worship. In fact, neither did the original Twelve Apostles. Nowhere in the Bible is the cross mentioned as an outward symbol. Of course, the expression to take upon a cross is used, signifying a desire to endure and sacrifice for the cause of Christ. And yes, Christ died for us, but more importantly, he rose from the dead. Christ lives. The primary reason The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not use the cross is because we focus more on Jesus’ resurrection than His death. If Christ had not risen, His death would have meant nothing.

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34)

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. (2 Corinthians 13:4)

Paul certainly feels that the resurrection is important. In fact, he takes all of chapter 15 in 1 Corinthians to explain it. Here are some of his words.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)

As I said before, Latter-day Saints don’t use the cross because we prefer to reflect upon the fact that Jesus Christ is alive, and not just that He died. So no, Mormons don’t “worship” the cross. In fact, we don’t worship any object. We worship our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives, and we don’t need to put giant crosses on our church buildings to let others know that we believe in and worship Him.

 

Wickedness Never Will Be Happiness

Why is it so important to develop our character here on Earth? If God will raise us all from the dead, giving us perfect bodies, doesn’t that mean that we’ll have a perfect mind and spirit, with no more desire to do evil? It doesn’t. Character is the result of our choices, good or evil. It’s the collection of our unique qualities, and it will not change without our own effort and willingness.

Developing good qualities is important because we will possess those same qualities in the life to come. The prophet Alma, in the Book of Mormon, warned…

Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness. (Alma 41:10)

Death will not alter our desires or our personality. The things we enjoy, we will still enjoy. The things we dislike, we will still dislike. The things we are addicted to, we will still crave. If we are righteous, we will still be righteous. And if we are wicked, we will still be wicked. The prophets, including Alma, have warned us; this life is the time to prepare to meet God. This life is the time for us to perform our labors, to strive to be like Christ and obey God’s commandments.

If we want to have clean hands and a pure heart when we stand before the judgment bar of God, we need to develop them here and now. There will be no more time after our death. Now is the time to prepare ourselves.

He is Risen

As Easter soon approaches, we remember our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While Christmas is a time more focused upon His birth, Easter brings attention to His Atonement and Resurrection. In the Book of Mormon we read,

And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceiveby the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.

And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. (Alma 7:10-12)

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ prayed to the Father and, in a manner incomprehensible to man, took upon Himself the sins of the world. Every pain and sorrow, every sin, and every affliction of every kind was heaped upon His shoulders. The pain was so great that He bled from every pore.

He was soon betrayed and brought before Pilate and others. Though Pilate found no fault in Him, the people cried out, “Crucify him!” He was stripped of His clothing, whipped, humuliated with a crown of thorns and mockery, and made to carry His own cross until His mortal body would no longer allow it. After the scourging, He was crucified on Golgotha. The One sent to redeem the world was betrayed and killed by His own people.

But then, Sunday morning came…

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. (Matthew 28:1-8)

The Lord Jesus Christ had risen and broken the bands of death. I bear testimony that Jesus Christ lives, and that He will forever live as our King. Yes, He died for us. But more importantly, death could not contain Him. He lives for us. Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, lives.

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Growing up, I never sang the hymns during church services. One reason was because I just didn’t like to sing. The other was simply to be rebellious. After I graduated high school, I decided to attend an LDS congregation for young, single adults. Sitting with my friends or by myself, I decided I should probably start participating in the hymns. And as a missionary, I’m always singing them.

Through these steps I’ve been able to gain a great appreciation for hymns, both the words and music, and I’d like to share my favorite hymn with you…

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

by Samuel Medley

I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with His love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.
 
He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.
 
He lives, my kind, wise heavenly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while He lives I’ll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.
He lives! All glory to His name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives.”
He lives! All glory to His name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
“I know that my Redeemer lives!”
 
It pretty much sums up everything I can possibly say about the Savior. He is the center of my life. He is and does everything for me. As we begin this Easter season, let us reflect on the role Christ plays in our everyday lives. He did indeed die for us, but perhaps more importantly, He was resurrected on the third day. Jesus Christ is my Redeemer, and I too know that my Redeemer lives.