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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Of all the wondrous events of Easter, of all the eternal scope of the purpose of Easter, of all the magnificence of the Atonement of Jesus Christ for all the sins of every person who has ever lived or who will ever live on the face of this earth, there are two small moments, both huge in portent, which have caused me long reflection this Easter season.

The first comes in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Christ is suffering the unimaginable agony of atoning for every sin ever committed, and he pleads with the Father to "remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (See Luke 22:42.) 

As a result, our loving Father in Heaven sent down an angel. This angel is portrayed in a wonderfully tender pose in the painting by the 19th Century Danish painter Carl Bloch:

Can you imagine this angel's reaction when he was assigned by the Father to go strengthen and comfort the Savior?  Can you imagine what a treasure that assignment would be?  I am pretty sure that if I was watching from heaven, I would have been just a little bit jealous of the angel who got to go down to earth and put his arms around the Savior, telling him, "You can do this." What love was shown for the Savior by our Father in Heaven, to send an angel to strengthen him and support him as he went through the most anguish anyone has ever experienced. 

That circle of support, however, shrank steadily through the events of the midnight trial and scourging, and the harrowing walk to Calgary, where more physical torture awaited the Redeemer of mankind.  The second moment that has stayed on my mind is that of Jesus on the cross, when most of his mortal friends have left, and he realizes that his Father has left him to his own devices.  "My God, my God, why hast THOU forsaken me?" Both the prophet Brigham Young and the apostle James Talmadge have said that our Father in Heaven had to turn away, had to go hide in some far corner of heaven, so as to keep from interrupting this last portion of the Atonement.  He had to hide, to allow Jesus to finish the job on his own, but the Father had also reached his limit - he was ready to end his son's suffering, but knew he needed to let the Atonement come to completion.

The Empty Tomb.  Artist unknown.
The glory of the resurrection is the reason for Easter.  The promise of living forever is given to all, and the promise of the quality of that immortality is offered to those who follow Jesus Christ's example and our Heavenly Father's commandments.  May we come to appreciate the love of our elder brother Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven, and choose to align our lives with the words of Jesus Christ and the will of the Father.  Happy Easter.


  1. Happy Easter to you too Bea, what wonderful insights you shared with us! As a parent I cannot imagine how hard it was for our Father to see His perfect Son suffer. I had not really thought about the angel's assignment before, trust you to see something the rest of us glossed over! Thanks for that!

    1. I have appreciated that angel's position more because of the perspective of a child in my life. When they say "out of the mouths of babes" I can say a hearty AMEN, because I have learned more from children than I can even remember.