© 2013 mikeandbrynne

The Empty Tomb

This busy Easter season I was forced to slow down for a few minutes on ponder on what Easter means to be at this stage of life, right down, today.  This opportunity came from an invitation from my husband speak in our church sacrament meeting on Sunday.  I thought he was joking.  It was a great chance to think about The Empty Tomb and reflect upon my deep feelings of gratitude for Christ.  I am attaching a version of the talk at the end of the post for my mom’s benefit. Feel free to browse.  The take away from my musings was “BECAUSE CHRIST DIED, HOW WILL I LIVE.”

For our first Easter since our move to Arizona we had cousins staying with us.  We loved it.  The Easter bunny left the kids baskets strewn all throughout the back rooms of the house attached to various colorful yarn strings.  Luke managed to get himself all tangled up in it, but overall I think it was a success.
We let the oldest tangle through the web of strings first in order to make the playing field a little easier for the younger ones.

 

Luke still managed to get himself completely tangled!

We ended the day with a Passover Seder and a phenomenal devotional from Uncle Troy.  I could get used to having family around…….

I’m not very good at speaking exactly from a script so this was added to both before and after the talk to try to convey what I shared.  Love you Mom!

Easter Message-LIVE WITH PURPOSE

         Within the last 2 weeks spring has come to Arizona.  It seems as if it happened almost overnight.  Within a matter of days the desert went from being brown and dormant to vibrant and alive. Plants that I was sure were dead from the winter frost miraculously sprouted buds. The blossoms on the trees and plants are intoxicating to the senses.  My daughter’s chicks hatched at her preschool this week and my 3 year old is picking flowers to give to all the girls that come by our house (Daisie is teaching him early what girls like).  The energy of spring, the newness of life and revival are invigorating.  Our whole family has a desire to be outside all day.  There is an excitement and sense that all is right with the world. The Savior proclaimed “all things bear record of me” (Moses 6:63) and Nephi wrote: “… all things which have been given of God … unto man, are the typifying of him.” (2 Ne. 11:14).  I love that the life and renewal of nature are symbolic of Christ and his triumph over death.  And on this Easter morning I want to stand as a witness that Christ rose from the grave to become the first fruits of them who slept, that death is not the end and that because Christ gave his life we can have eternal life.  This doctrine should be as invigorating and energizing as the flowers and aura of spring.  It should brighten our lives and our hearts like the brilliantly dyed Easter eggs and bring color to a world that can feel dark and grey.

This week, like many of you, our family attended the Easter Pageant.  We went on one of the Spanish nights and didn’t spend the appropriate time prepping my younger two for what they were going to see due to the distractions in the car on the way.  Our youngest is not known for his ability to sit still and we had almost considered leaving him home.  Thus, I was surprised when we got in the car and he explained to the whole family, “the ‘dad’ guys got Jesus, and it was sad.”  Then in a cheerful voice he added, “But Jesus is not dead.  He is alive.”  Yes, Luke, he is not dead!  He is risen!  Yes, the best blood of the millennia was spilt for us.  Our perfect Lord and Savior bled and died for us.  So that each of us could live again.  Was his sacrifice worth it? Are we living in a manner that shows gratitude and appreciation for this gift?  This Easter I want you to ponder the concept=BECAUSE CHRIST DIED, HOW AM I GOING TO LIVE?

I would like to recommend that we LIVE WITH PURPOSE.

Elder Scott has instructed us, “You are here on earth for a divine pupose.  It is not to be endlessly entertained or to be constantly in full pursuit of pleasure.  You are here to be tried, to prove yourself so that you can receive the additional blessings God has for you.” (“Finding Joy in Life, Ensign May 1996)

How do we live with purpose?  I believe our stake presidency has given us an inspired formula that the primary children reiterated for us last fall at the primary program.  “Pray, Attend, Study, Serve”. (have children in the audience demonstrate the hand signals) This revelation from our Stake Presidency for us right now, today can help us to live with purpose.

Pray-D&C 19:38-Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing-yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth….”

D&C 66:28-And they shall teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord

Prayer is our vehicle to talk with God; it is a way to check in each day and verify that what we are doing aligns with the Lord’s purpose for us that day.

Little secret on teaching on children to pray:  There are just some days when laundry is piled up, no one has completed their assignments, we are late to activities, we eat cereal for dinner and I am exhausted.  Sister Biggs at our RS activity this week talked about running and not getting anywhere.  Can you relate?  If I will take the time to assist or listen to or pray with my children during their personal prayers, I feel a sense that Heavenly Father is pleased.  I love hearing little Luke pray to increase our faith in Jesus Christ or listening to Daisies pray for her daddy to return to Arizona in safety. 

BECAUSE CHRIST DIED, WE CAN LIVE WITH PRAYER

Attend-

When we attend our sacrament meeting we have a visual reminder of the Saviors sacrifice for us.  On Easter it is especially poignant to look at the sacrament table and think of Christ’s body being wrapped in a clean linen cloth just as the emblems of his body are covered in a clean white cloth.  I am so grateful for the well-groomed priests who reverently and deliberately stand before the sacramental altar and perform an ordinance on behalf of the members of the congregation that I cannot do for myself– Just as the ancient priests stood before sacrificial altars and performed sacrificial rituals that the faithful could not perform for themselves.  The whole sacramental ritual reminds us that Christ loved us enough to die that we might live and reminds us that we loved him enough that we made baptismal covenants to take HIS name upon our SOULS and always remember him.

BECAUSE HE DIED HOW ARE WE GOING TO LIVE?

When we attend our church meetings and especially when we attend the temple we are taught HOW to live.  Because Christ died, I will live my covenants.

Study-

When we study the life of Christ, we understand his qualities and attributes.  Christ encourages us, “Learn of me, and listen to my words…. and you shall have peace in me.” _D&C 19:23 Through studying his life and teachings we have a vision of the purposeful life.  When we study the lives of the prophets-ancient and modern-we learn attributes of those that have the image of Christ etched upon their countenances.

Sometimes when we are driving or traveling we will people watch.  It is not unusual to see entire groups of kids who are dressed almost identically-same brand, same colors, same haircuts, and same styles.  As they spend time together they become more like each other and strive to emulate each other.  Similarly, when we spend more time in the scriptures or studying conference talks we want to emulate those qualities of the Savior that we learn about.

BECAUSE CHRIST DIED, I WILL LIVE HIS TEACHINGS.

Serve-Because the Savior died, how am I going to live?  Perhaps we could live with gratitude.  As we become more aware and cognizant of our own blessings we want to share with others.

EXAMPLE-Love Potion #31

We want to give to others.  We want to serve.  Might we Live with Service?  Christ did for us something we could we could not do for ourselves.  We could not perform the atonement, we could not make repentance possible, we could not conquer death, and we could not satisfy the demands of justice.  When I think about this service, as part of a life of service, I also desire to participate in acts of service in which I can do something for someone else that they can’t do for themselves.  The perfect example of this type of service is temple work for our deceased brothers and sisters who cannot do it for themselves.  Because Christ died, I want to Live with Service and Gratitude.

Do you have a favorite place?  A place where you feel peace and serenity?  A place where you feel free from the distractions of life and elevated to a higher plane?  Maybe it’s the mountains or the lake or the beach.  I have a few such places that I love and feel at “home” in.  One is a small beach in Laguna not far from my parents’ home, another is the celestial room, another is sitting around a simple plastic table on our back patio when all the kids are getting along and you have a glimpse of the concept of eternal families.  There is one other that I want to share with you today.  It is a small garden a stone’s throw away from the bustling old city of Jerusalem.  It is not far from the busy roadway and yet I can’t hear the traffic or the consistent honking that one becomes accustomed to in the Middle East.  At the edge of the garden is a hill called Golgotha, which stands, in solemn juxtaposition to the beauty of the garden.  Flowers abound and lush greenery, so rare for that part of the city, flourish.  Our dear Christian brothers and sisters run this peaceful haven.  The sign leading to the entrance simply states, “Garden Tomb” and tucked in the corner of the garden is an empty tomb cut out of the mountain with a sign reading, HE IS NOT HERE, For HE IS RISEN.  I have spent hours in this garden and have participate in multiple testimony meetings in this venue.  I have felt of our Saviors love and have come to a deeper understanding of his mission, my mission and the atonement.  I would love to transport all of us there where we could sing together,

He is risen!  He is risen!  Tell it out with joyful voice.  He has burst his three days’ prison; Let the whole wide earth rejoice.  Death is conquered, man is free.  Christ has won the victory.”

He has risen!  He is risen!  He hath opened heaven’s gate.  We are free from sin’s dark prison, Risen to a holier state.  An a brighter Easter beam On our longing eyes shall stream.”

But as much as I would love to be there with you, we do not need to travel to the Garden Tomb to find Christ, because as the sign on the gate to the tomb clearly states, “He is not here.  For He is risen.”  The tomb is empty.  Christ is not in the tomb, he is found here and now in our hearts.

Watching the Easter pageant this last week, I was struck by how clearly Mary knew the Savior’s voice.  Even when she was distracted and her physical eyes could not see, she knew the masters voice when he called.  I want to hear and recognize HIS voice when he calls me.

So this beautiful Easter my dear friends, because Christ died might we chose together to live with purpose, live with gratitude, live with service, and live our covenants.

Testify