Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Bizzarely, I don't ever remember an Easter before this one where I actually wished and was wished a "Happy Easter," in the same way you wish people a Merry Christmas. I was so appreciative of the many wonderful friends and family (and facebookers :) who offered me this little greeting throughout the week! And I was very grateful to enjoy once more the fantastical feelings of family love as I played with Mom, Dad, Marie, and Katie, who came to visit me starting on General Conference Sunday. I was so happy to watch them explore my East Coast world (although sometimes I felt like a monkey in a zoo-- only my adorable family would find it exciting to accompany me on my morning bus and metro ride to work at 8:30 am. Hee hee!) All throughout the week I showed them what East Coast adventures look like, and I'm thinking we had a rocking time. I felt unusually home-sicky and little girly when they left. Thankfully, today, wonderful today, had a sweet Easter Sabbath church service and dinner with friends that brought me back up to snuff and got me ready for another crazy week in the heart of the nation. The new director of the Hirshhorn starts work tomorrow; I look forward to watching the entire staff buzz around in an uproar. But this is besides the ultimate point I wanted to address in my post this evening.

I just wanted to let you know that I believe in Jesus Christ. I adore him, and am so thankful for his example and ultimately, his sacrifice. I am always amazed at the immediate calmness that floods my tempestuous little soul whenever I turn to the New Testament or Doctrine and Covenants or Book of Mormon to read about his amazingly simple, brave, and compassionate works, and to read his righteous words, spanning from 2,000 years ago in an unenlightened Israel until today. I believe that he asks me to follow him, keep his commandments, and to make and honor covenants with him. And I believe that when we do this, and give our all to him (which will not be a perfect offering, thank heavens he knows that), he will make up the difference, and someday bring us back to our Heavenly Father, the most glorious gift imaginable!! I believe that he rose from the tomb after lying there for three days, and thereby facilitated the eventual resurrection of all mankind. That fact still blows my mind. I look forward to the day when he will bring peace, equity, and truth to our world for the final and most wonderful time.

I often feel like I don't know him enough. I wonder what he would say to me if we sat down to talk, or if he called me like any of my beloved friends do on occasion (haha- tiny sidenote- my roommate Breanna has a friend Jesus, "Hey-zoos," in her phone, and she says she always jumps a little when his name pops up on her caller id. Funny). I once asked my former Stake President in Provo how he thought we could best get to know this Savior who we profess to be the center of our religion. His suggestion was to look for him in the symbolic ordinances of the temple, and to do the kind of works he would be doing in our place. Serve, in other words. Be kind. Be clean. Be smart. Be true. Be humble. Be prayerful. And you will understand who he is all the more. I am grateful for his counsel. I think he's right.

I just wanted to bear my testimony of that particularly wonderful Son of God for a moment. And now, share a work of art with you all:

Gethsemane, James C. Christensen (1942- ), Acrylic on canvas.
"And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him." Luke 22:43

In an effort to understand the atonement, the artist was taken with the above scripture which states that an angel appeared to Jesus in the garden to strengthen him. Here, Christensen has placed the angel just behind the Christ figure as if he is about to place his hands on the Savior’s head and pronounce a priesthood blessing. The extreme darkness of this painting emphasizes the anguish of the garden experience.
James Christensen, a retired professor of art at Brigham Young University, began his career as an illustrator. Today he is considered one of the premier fantasy artists in the nation.

I mined Google for one of my favorite images of Christ by the artist Ron Richmond, but couldn't find it, and instead found this one and decided it'll do for now. The explanatory text beneath it came from There are quite a few other intriguing contemporary images of Christ on that site worth contemplating if you have the time (including the one at the top of this post by my second-coming-BFF Minerva Teichert... even though we were born a century apart, I came to know her last year while I organized her personal papers in the BYU Special Collections Library. She's one of my heros).

BUT. Back to the point. I love this picture of Gethsemane because it isn't pretty. It isn't sweet. For a moment you don't feel there is any light coming out of it. The Savior took upon him the pain, anguish, and punishment of every person in the history "so that he may know how to succor his people." It was not a fun ride for him. In fact, it was the worst ride in history. Someone in conference stated that Christ could have chosen to understand the feelings of all others merely through revelation, if he so desired, but he wanted instead to gain empathy for his children by experiencing all their miseries himself. That is love.

Happy Easter my friends.


MARIE said...

Lindsey that was wonderful, very simple, profound, true words. It was great to read that this Easter week, and I really love that picture. I didn't like it when I first glanced at it but then looking at it and reading the explanation and thinking, it's an amazing depiction. I love how the angel looks like he's about to give him a blessing, I never would have thought of the angel doing that so that was beautiful. I like how he's on the ground (and not like the one painting with the rock), and his head is down, he looks more low.

I love him too, with all my being.

MOM said...

Thank you Lindsey for your testimony and sharing your love of the Savior with all of us. I love you, and I share your love for Him too. He is so dear to me. I'm grateful for His miraculous and unbelievable sacrifice for all of us. I can't wait to be embraced by Him and be able to tell Him personally how much I love Him and thank Him for all He has done for all of us.

I think, if you were fortunate to have a personal conversation with Him, that He would ask you simple questions about how you are doing, (afterall, He would know about all your little adventures, your struggles, your inermost heart's desires); He'd probably say how happy He is with your faithful efforts to follow Heavenly Father's plan, and He would no doubt tell you how much He loved you and was grateful for your belief in Him. I think He would give you great encouragement and assure you that you are doing that which is pleasing to Him. Afterall, isn't that what we often feel/hear when we pray or receive a Priesthood blessing? Wow, what a blessing the gospel is! I'm so grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, to know that He has restored the gospel in these last days in its fullness, with all the saving ordinances available to all of us. I'm grateful to be your mom Lindsey. Happy Easter to you too. :)

Spencer said...

here is a question. I've often pondered this angel coming to strengthen him and his purpose. My new testament teacher said that this is none other than Adam. There has to be some kind of symbolism here. However, I don't understand why or HOW that angel could comfort the lord while He was performing the atonement. The point is to be separated form God and bear all of our sins and pains so we could know how he feels. Any thoughts?

THe only thing i've though of is that it seems that the suffering in gethsemane took place periodically. Jesus often went away to find His disciples sleeping. Were the increments in His pain part of it? Was this comfort of the angel towards the beginning and was the part when Heavenly Father COMPLETELY left Jesus so much later and just exclusive to the cross? What does everyone else think?

ANyhow, this is my favorite picture of Gethsemane for the exact reasons Lindsey said. I saw it in a member's home and i really really like it. I actually want one right now and might go order it. :)

Summer Lewis said...

Minerva is one of my favorite Mormon artists (her and Walter Rane rank high with me). Anyway, Christ in the Red Robe is my all time favorite second coming painting. It hangs in the Madrid Temple celestial room. I just love that she said true to scriptural prophecy and the symbolism of the red robe. How amazing and awesome is the Atonement!