Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Easter Story

It's Easter!  What a glorious day!  I was given the assignment to put together a music-based program for sacrament meeting today.  It was more difficult than I expected, which always makes for a great learning experience, but it turned out nicely.  I'm sure my boys would love to know what they missed, so here you go. (Michelle's solo of "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" was beautiful.)  If you click on the titles of the songs, you'll be sent to websites where you can read the words and/or listen to the music.  These may be the words of the prophets, but it's my testimony too.  Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ lives.
“It is because of Heavenly Father’s gift of His Son that all men—past, present, and future—can return to live with Him who is the Father of our spirits. But to insure that that can happen, it was first necessary for Jesus to come to earth in the flesh to teach men by His example the correct way to live and then to willingly give up His life and, in some miraculous way, accept the burden for the sins of mankind.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Friend, December 1982)

“Without Christ, there would be no Easter.  Without Christ there can be no fullness of joy.  In our premortal state, we shouted for joy as the plan of salvation was unfolded to our view.  It was there our elder brother Jesus, the firstborn in the spirit of our Father’s children, volunteered to redeem us from our sins.  He became our foreordained savior, the Lamb “slain from the foundation of the world.” (Moses 7:47)  Thanks be to God the Son for the offering of Himself.  And thanks be to God the Father that He sent Him.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16.) (Ezra Taft Benson, “Joy in Christ,” Ensign, Mar. 1986, 3)

“As a result of the many miracles in our lives, we should be more humble and more grateful, more kind and more believing. When we are personal witnesses to these wonders which God performs, it should increase our respect and love for him; it should improve the way we behave. We will live better and love more if we will remember that. We are miracles in our own right, every one of us, and the resurrected Son of God is the greatest miracle of all. He is, indeed, the miracle of miracles, and every day of his life he gave evidence of it. We should try to follow after him in that example.” (Howard W. Hunter, April 1989 general conference)

During the three years of His earthly ministry, [Christ] did what none other had ever done before; He taught as none other had previously taught.  Then came His time to be offered. There was the supper in the Upper Room, His last with the Twelve in mortality. As He washed their feet, He taught a lesson in humility and service they would never forget. There followed the suffering of Gethsemane, “which suffering,” He said, “caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit” (D&C 19:18). (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, April 1997)

“I believe that none of us can conceive the full import of what Christ did for us in Gethsemane, but I am grateful every day of my life for His atoning sacrifice in our behalf.  At the last moment, He could have turned back. But He did not. He passed beneath all things that He might save all things. In doing so, He gave us life beyond this mortal existence. He reclaimed us from the Fall of Adam.  To the depths of my very soul, I am grateful to Him. He taught us how to live. He taught us how to die. He secured our salvation.” (Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, April 2012)

“Now upon the first day of the week, early in the morning, the women came unto the sepulchre. … They found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass that as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold two men stood by them in shining garments! And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, the angel said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? Fear not ye, be not affrighted; for I know that ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified. “He is not here, for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay—where they laid him. “And go quickly and tell his disciples and Peter that He is risen from the dead—that He goeth before you into Galilee; there ye shall see Him. Remember how He spoke unto you while He was yet in Galilee saying: The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and the third day rise again. Lo, I have told you.” [See Luke 24:1–7; Matthew 28:5–7; Mark 16:5–7.]  Thus do the writers of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, record the greatest event in the history of the world, the literal resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind. Dramatically had been demonstrated the greatest of all the divine powers of an incarnated Son of God. He had declared to the sorrowing Martha, at the time of the death of her brother Lazarus: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25.)  (Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, (2000), 216–23)

“Our Savior lived again. The most glorious, comforting, and reassuring of all events of human history had taken place—the victory over death. The pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary had been wiped away. The salvation of mankind had been secured. The Fall of Adam had been reclaimed.  The empty tomb that first Easter morning was the answer to Job’s question, ‘If a man die, shall he live again?’ To all within the sound of my voice, I declare, If a man die, he shall live again. We know, for we have the light of revealed truth. … My beloved brothers and sisters, in our hour of deepest sorrow, we can receive profound peace from the words of the angel that first Easter morning: ‘He is not here: for he is risen.’” (Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, April 2012)

For all of Christendom, for all of mankind, today is observed as the anniversary of the greatest miracle in human history. It is the miracle that encompasses all who have lived upon the earth, all who now live upon the earth, and all who will yet live upon the earth. Nothing done before or since has so affected mankind as the atonement wrought by Jesus of Nazareth, who died on Calvary’s cross, was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and on the third day arose from the grave as the Living Son of the Living God—the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  (Gordon B. Hinckley, April 1994 general conference)

“I declare my personal witness that death has been conquered, victory over the tomb has been won. May the words made sacred by Him who fulfilled them become actual knowledge to all. Remember them. Cherish them. Honor them. He is risen.” (Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, April 2012)

1 comment:

  1. Wish we could have been there! Thanks for sharing!