Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Blessings of the Resurrection: The Promise and the Hope

This week as we lead into Easter Sunday, and celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior, I will be having a guest writer on my blog, my 79 year old Dad. This actually comes from a talk he gave in Sacrament Meeting several years ago. It was so well done and so perfect for this week, that with his permission, I will be sharing excerpts from his talk all week long.

Thanks Dad.

                                Blessings of the Resurrection: Not All Believe
Del Parson's "He Is Risen"
follow link to read the background of the painting
"My knowledge of the foregoing events and the scriptural records of all the events surrounding the resurrection are blessings which are unsurpassed.  How could we put a value on such information?
My heart goes out to those who reject the idea of a resurrection.  But as I've contemplated my blessings, there are many.  As you get older you begin to lose many of the abilities of the body.  Things that use to be easy, become hard to do or in some cases, impossible.
I remember my first recollection of that reality when I made the decision to quit playing basketball on weekday nights at the chapel.  And when I decided that when the ward engaged in a softball game to just watch or at best volunteer to be the umpire.  These decisions were based on the fact that I just couldn't do the things I use to do.  It was a gradual change and a gradual realization.
In later years I had to get glasses and then bifocals and now trifocals.  I've lost my hearing. Without the little plastic inside my ears I am virtually deaf.  I've had heart bypass and cancer surgery both of which you worry when will they raise their ugly head again.
(since this talk was given, my Dad has battled throat cancer)
I can only assume if I have the good fortune to live a few more years that other bodily dis-functions will develop.  How long will it be before I need a new hip or knee?  Will I be confined to a wheelchair some day or to a nursing home because there is too much wrong with me to live at home?
I've come to know that the older you get, the more these things press on your mind.  They are a matter of "when" and not "if". 
As our body deteriorates with age, the promise of the resurrection gives great hope.  The thought of a restored body in its prime becomes more exiting with age.
We are told we will come forth with a renewed body.  That not one hair will be lost.  Our achy joints will work like new and we'll be able to see and hear without help.
I look forward to the resurrection with great hope of a young and well functioning body.
We have two grandsons who came into this world with serious physical limitations due to heart and internal problems.  They look normal, but their normal functions as boys are seriously curtailed.
How exciting it will be to see them resurrected.  How excited will they be with a body that works like it should.
(one of these boys had a heart transplant a few years ago, and is now serving a full-time mission. Although with limitations and not with a perfect body, he has best body he has had his whole life)
Many people have bodies with serious deformities or have lost essential parts or abilities  due to accidents or illness.  The hope of the resurrection looms even more exciting for them.
These are great blessings to look forward to.
In our eternal journey, the resurrection is a milepost that signifies the end of mortality and the beginning of immortality.  The Lord describes the importance of this transition in Doctrine and Covenants 29:43.
"And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe;"
The Book of Mormon teaches:
"For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord. "
One of the greatest blessings of the resurrection, as I think about it, has to be the assurance that it will include the opportunity to be with family members who have gone on before: my parents, my grandparents, brothers, and sisters.
I look forward with great anticipation to meet Horatio Talbert who appears in our family tree with no knowledge of his parents or their origin.  And his son George Talbert, my great-grandfather who left three little boys with a neighbor and went off to the Civil War to never return.  One of those little boys was my grandfather.
How exciting will it be??? All of this anticipation of these great reunions is a powerful incentive to keep the commandments and to fulfill all these requirements to have the opportunity to be resurrected with them.
Our knowledge of the resurrection also gives us the courage to face our own death.  The people of Ammon... "never did look upon death with any degree of terror, for their hope and views of Christ and the resurrection;  therefore, death was swallowed up to them by the victory of Christ over it." 
We should all praise God of the assured resurrection that makes our mortal separations temporary and gives us the hope necessary to carry on.
He is not here.  He has risen--as we all will rise too in the resurrection."