I managed to get all 5 kids looking reasonably happy for this Easter Morning picture. It only took 20 tries, but that’s alright!
I wanted to share briefly with you my testimony of Easter, of the sacrifice of Christ, and what it means to me. I’ll share this testimony with you through a story I shared today with the children and teachers in our Primary class at church this morning.
When we lived in Oregon, I had the great pleasure to volunteer one summer at the Portland Art Museum. They allowed us to bring our family in for free one afternoon, so while Robb worked, I (being very pregnant with Eli!) brought the older four in to see the amazing exhibits.
In the Mormon church, you will notice that we do not carry or display any depictions of Christ on the cross, either in our chapels, our homes, jewelry, or otherwise. I am not positive on the doctrinal reason for this, but I believe it has something to do with our choice to focus on the Living Christ. We believe, as all Christians do, that he was crucified and resurrected and ascended into Heaven. We know He Lives, and we center our hope on that.
At the Portland Art Museum, they have grand religious paintings from Europe, many of them depicting Mary, the mother of Christ, and also of Christ on the cross.
As we toured the exhibits, we entered one particularly quiet room, wherein was centered on one wall a massive painting of the crucifixion of Christ. I silently observed as my then 6yo son walked up to the painting and stretched his neck to see all angles of the painting. Then I watched as his shoulders slumped, his head bowed, and I could see by his movements that he was crying.
I pulled him over to a nearby bench and sat with him while he sobbed. I think that was perhaps the first time he had ever seen that kind of image of Christ, and at first he didn’t even know who it was. He told me in his small voice, “I’m just so sad for that man.”
I then shed my own tears as I told him that man was Jesus Christ, and that I understood how he could feel sad about Christ’s suffering. But then I told him that Christ knew what he was doing – that he had chosen that fate – because He loved us so much and knew He needed to make that sacrifice for us. I told him that though Christ died on the cross, He rose just two days later. And because He broke the bands of death, we would one day be able to do the same. We would be reunited with all those we love. We would be able to live with our Father in Heaven again. Yes, it was sad what happened to Christ, but there is reason for great rejoicing in it, too. It is perhaps the one part of the gospel which brings me the greatest joy and happiness.
I am grateful for a testimony that tells me this joy and happiness is big enough for everyone, even those who can’t or won’t or don’t believe anything I’ve just written. The message of Easter is a message of love and hope and redemption, and that’s a message that can be written on any heart.