Wednesday, April 10, 1974

An Easter message

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).

Our Savior: A Family Man

Somehow it is very important that we have chosen Easter weekend as the time for our family reunion this year—appropriate because Easter celebrates the most glorious event that has ever happened in the history of the earth, appropriate because families are the most important thing on the earth. The mission of the Savior and the glorious eternal destiny of the family are so much a part of each other that prophets can tell us to "seek first the kingdom of God," but at the same time tell us that "the greatest work we will ever do for the Church will be within the walls of our own homes" and also that "no success can compensate for failure in the home."

Every couple in our family group has now been sealed for time and all eternity; every child has been sealed to his parents or born in the covenant. What a glorious opportunity can be ours to live together eternally if we prove worthy of such a great blessing. But have you stopped to consider the role of the Savior has played in making all this possible? He is the one who in the councils before this life advanced the plan; He is the author of our salvation. He is the one who created this earth for us to come to live on. He is the one who gives us the commandments we need to know and obey to be able to return to our Father's presence. He is the one who is the source of the priesthood, the power and the authority to bind us on earth and in heaven, to seal us together as families. He is the one who suffered for our sins, gave His life that we might live, and was resurrected that death might have no ultimate victory over us. He is the very God who gives us our life, our breath, our very being. All that we are, and ever hope to be, we owe to Jesus Christ, our Savior and God and King.

Now Jesus Christ is a family man. His sole work is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of his Father's children. When we enter the celestial world, we will be perfectly organized into families. God the Father will be there. And if worthy of our exaltation, we will be there as joint-heirs of Jesus Christ, gods in our own right, able to people worlds of our own without end, becoming Heavenly Fathers and Mothers to our own spirit children. Such is the eternal destiny that awaits us—all because of our beloved Redeemer.

I am grateful that the Savior we worship is a living God. Not all people do worship Him that way. When I was in Brazil on my mission, for example, I noticed that there the big holiday is not Easter Sunday but Good Friday. And it is not celebrated as a happy day. They remember the crucified Christ, not the resurrected Christ. I'm sure Kay noticed the same thing on his mission in Peru, and Dale is probably seeing it now in Bolivia. The difference was graphically shown at the New York World's Fair, which I visited in 1964. The Catholic pavilion showed the dead Christ, the famous Pieta. The Mormon pavilion showed a representation of the living Christ, the Christus which now stands with out-stretched arms in the Salt Lake Visitors' Center.

The beautiful hymn sums up what I'm trying to say:

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.

He lives, all glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same;
O sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"

Yes, I know that my Redeemer lives. And I'm grateful to share that witness with all of you, my beloved family members. May we share that knowledge and faith with all we know—our families, our neighbors, with all the world. And may our lives reflect the joy and happiness that comes from living the gospel of our Savior—a family name.

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