Editor’s note: “Matters of faith” is a column that provides local religious leaders a place to write about how their respective faiths provide hope, courage and strength in these modern times.
Over one dozen songs praising the Author of the Easter miracle are scattered throughout the LDS hymnal.
We sing many of these familiar lines throughout the year in Sacrament meetings.
“While guilty men his pains deride; They pierce his hands and feet and side.” “He lives, he lives, who once was dead; He lives, my ever-living Head.” “The law was broken; Jesus died that justice might be satisfied,” are sung by Mormon congregations throughout the year.
However, other hymns such as “O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown,” “That Easter Morn,” and “He Is Risen!” are unofficially reserved for the season when Christians remember our Savior’s life, death, and resurrection.
Here are a few of my favorite lines from those special Easter hymns:
Come with high and holy hymning;
Chant our Lord’s triumphant lay.
Not one darksome cloud is dimming
Yonder glorious morning ray,
By heaven’s plan appointed,
To ransom us, our King.
O Jesus, the anointed,
To thee our love we bring!
This morn renews for us that day
When Jesus cast the bonds away,
Took living breath
And conquered death.
The Prophet Joseph Smith clearly explained the doctrinal heart of the church he restored.
“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”
Throughout its history, LDS Church “appendages” have been the subject of untold numbers of news articles, discussions, and debates.
During this Easter season — and arguably all year long — it is best if we all focus on the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. It is the foundation of our religion, not just another lesson or hymn.
Earlier this year, the Rev. Billy Graham passed away at the age of 99. Graham, a prominent evangelical Christian and Southern Baptist minister, summed up the meaning of Easter in these words: “God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”
A leading New Testament scholar, N.T. Wright, said, “The resurrection completes the inauguration of God’s kingdom. … It is the decisive event demonstrating that God’s kingdom really has been launched on earth as it is in heaven. The message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you’re now invited to belong to it.”
Paul Chappell, who hosts the popular Daily in the World radio broadcast, said, “Because of the empty tomb, we have peace. Because of His resurrection, we can have peace during even the most troubling of times because we know He is in control of all that happens in the world.”
As we approach this Easter weekend, I hope all of us can turn our hearts, minds, and thoughts to the most important event ever in this history of the world: the death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Charlie Roberts is a former LDS bishop of the Tooele 6th Ward.