I think this was a great assignment. One thing that occured to me (that may not be new but is always good to remember) is that although the atonement is what Christ did because it was necessary for everyone to be saved, it was also necessary for him to fulfil his roles in our lives. He felt every single person's lifelong feelings. In a couple of mortal hours he lived billions and billions of lifetimes through the atonement. Atonement or at-one-ment is the way we become at one with Him and He becomes one with us. He now understands every singe thing we have ever done, felt, suffered and etc. How else was he supposed to fulfil the role of a judge, friend, older brother and savior.
This is probably my favorite blog post we have done so far. Although we learn about the Savior's sacrifice for us all the time in our church, there is a different feeling that comes when you sit down in a quiet spot and think about it yourself. All of a sudden it becomes much more personal. One thing I was especially grateful for this morning it that the atonement is what adds meaning to our lives. I once heard John Bytheway put it this way: "How would you feel if there was a sudden announcement from Heaven saying, 'We regret to inform you that the Plan of Salvation has failed. Go on with your meaningless existence.'" Wow. Now that's powerful. If Jesus Christ hadn't done what He said he was going to do for us, there would literally be no point in any of us being here on this Earth. Jesus Christ is the reason that we have hope. He is the reason we can appreciate beauty as the sun comes out and the flowers begin to grow this spring. He is the reason I appreciate my life so much- because he gave his life so that mine could continue.
I actually did this assignment a little early and did it yesterday due to the fact that I was going to the temple and I figured that there is no better place than the temple to do something like this. I was really grateful for the opportunity given to us to do this assignment because; although I have kept up regular scripture study and such since my mission I haven't really been able to really focus in the way I used to, and this assignment allowed me to do that once again. While I was in the temple I took some time to really think about all of the many many symbols that point toward Christ and his Atonement and it really is quite astounding. All things point to Christ as the Savior and Redeemer of the world. In 2 Nephi 9:7-13, Jacob gives one of my favorite discourses on the Atonement and says in effect: the Atonement is everything; without it our bodies would crumble and become worm food, and our spirits would become angels of the devil. But because of the Atonement this is not so! Christ has delivered us both in body and in spirit and all we must do is follow him... "the words of Christ, if we follow their course, [shall] carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise." (Alma 37:45)
Whenever I think of the Atonement, I am just left in awe. Not only did Christ suffer for my sins, but also for my sorrows. No matter what I am going through he has literally felt that pain or sadness or sorrow. When I was contemplating the Atonement, I remembered a C.S. Lewis quote: "He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less." I think that quote is an amazing way to think of the Atonement. It is for each of us individually, and it is infinite in every possible way.
This week, I was asked to give a talk about the atonement, so this assignment fit in perfectly. Every time that I study the atonement, I cannot help but to think of every blessing I have and for everything that Christ has done for me. It is sometimes hard for me to wrap my mind around, simply because His sacrifice is incomparable to anything else. I know that I will never be able to pay back my Savior in full, but I know that I can attempt to by living His gospel. I am so grateful for the atonement and for all the peace and comfort it has brought into my life. It is so comforting to know that no matter what I am going through, the Savior has felt that exact pain. Just realizing that someone knows exactly what I am going through and that He is constantly there for me is such a blessing that I never want to take for granted.
When I consider the Atonement,, and what Christ did for me, one of the first things that comes to my mind is the hymn "I Stand All Amazed." To me, one of the most meaningful parts of the song is the start of the second verse:I marvel that He would descend from His throne divineTo rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine.I am by no means perfect, and when I think of this, it helps to remind me that He made the sacrifice so that, despite my shortcomings, I can return to my Father in Heaven. Another thought I had concerning the Atonement - it is not just for repentance, but it is also for comfort when dealing with life's sorrows. This second semester has been harder on me than last semester, and it is very comforting to know that He understands what I am going through, and can give me the strength to continue on.
Last month I thought a lot about the Atonement, and what it really means to me. What started this was an article from the Ensign called "The Enabling Power of the Atonement." This article taught me so much about the Atonement, along with my personal reflections on Christ.One thing that really hit me from the article is a quote from Elder Bednar. It is as follows: "I frankly do not think many of us ‘get it’ concerning [the] enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement, and I wonder if we mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities." We need to remember that we need not live on our own. After all, we are commanded to "be one" and we are commanded to be One with Christ and the Father as well. If we do not walk with them, talk with them, and live with them, we cannot be One with them.Another quote that had a large impact on me was from Elder Holland. He said, "I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands." The Lord lived and died for us, not so that we could simply move through life on our own merit, because our own merit is not much, if anything. He wants us to come unto Him, and to learn of Him. When Christ visited the Nephites, He came down to them, and they fell on their knees from the great power and strength He had. He then invites them to come unto Him, and after they had gone to Him, they fell on their knees again, but this time it was to worship Him because they loved Him, and not because His presence demanded it. We need to take this as an example, and fall down on our knees out of our love for Christ, and not just because we are thrown down on our knees. This is because Christ wants us to come unto Him, and to remember Him always, and not just when life gets hard, or when He comes to us.Christ loves us all, each and every one, more than we can ever understand. As Charles quoted "I Stand All Amazed," I call upon it as my testimony. "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me." In His sacred name, Jesus Christ, amen.
Well, this is coming in after Easter Sunday and good Friday, but a lot of my contemplation this weekend has been extremely peaceful amidst a demanding time in the Semester. As I pondered on the atonement and the benefits I have received from it, gratitude fills my heart. Each time I ponder the atonement, I ponder the words of a talk given by Elder Holland, "He Walked Alone." He discusses how throughout the Saviors performance of the atonement, one by one those that surrounded and loved Him slowly drifted away. The apostles, loved ones, and even Heavenly Father himself had to withdraw his presence for a short time so the Savior could truly fulfill the atonement. The love he had for us in doing something like this immeasurable. I am so grateful for his sacrifice and strive to use it in my life to be better everyday.
I thought of the Atonement and how it blesses my life and helps me to be happy because it can take away the pain that comes with different life experiences. I pondered the idea that on Friday, a long time ago, the Savior was suffering for me, and I felt a measure of God's love for me that helped me feel happier.
Recently I have been reading the New Testament and have learned a great lot on the Atonement. I have been taught about how great the plan of our God is. He knows all things and remains outside my bedroom door or right next to me and it only takes a humble place or prayer to welcome him into my daily life and feel his spirit. One only needs to listen to the news, to realize how Satan’s power has spread across the world. When I read and ponder, it sparks a reminder that the Lord will ‘always’ have power over Satan. I need to remind myself that I should never be afraid to choose the right because pleasing the Lord instead of my peers will ultimately bring me the greatest happiness. The New Testament makes clear that Christ’s death is the climax of His perfect obedience. He “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8) I believe the Atonement to be very strong because I know our Lord will never give up on his us because he loves us unconditionally, which has given me hope, faith, and confidence to continue to repent.