Sunday, March 31, 2013

One Unique Gift: Thoughts on Easter

It has been an edifying and joyful Easter Sunday.  As I have been reflecting on the meaning of Easter, and it's meaning for me personally, my thoughts turned to a teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 121)

In a week's time, the entire world has the opportunity to tune in and be instructed and edified by the testimony of living Apostles and Prophets, successors of those alluded to in Joseph Smith's penetrating statement.  That Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again the third day are incontrovertible historical facts that ought to command the attention and interest of sincere seekers of truth everywhere.  But why does this matter?

Joseph Smith also taught, in the Lectures on Faith, that "A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things, never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation."  The testimony of the Apostles and Prophets concerning Jesus Christ are the fundamental principles of our religion, and that religion requires the sacrifice of all things.

On this Easter Sunday, the life, Atoning sacrifice and Resurrection of Jesus Christ are significant to me because I understand that He sacrificed His life for me personally, and for all mankind, and that I too should be willing to sacrifice all things for Him.  In other words, because Christ gave His life that all might live, and have life more abundantly, I pledge to strive a little more each day to demonstrate my love for Jesus Christ by being willing to sacrifice all things for Him, even my own life if necessary.  In reality, all things, including my life, belong to Christ anyway, or, as Elder Maxwell explained: 

“The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give,’ … are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!" (Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 30; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 24; emphasis added)

Happy Easter!