I love Easter and what its meaning denotes; renewal, acceptance, eternity, gratitude, love, and best of all, a full and active Godhead (Father, Son and Holy-Ghost) in my life.
I was perusing Facebook the other day and ran across a video produced by my Church (LDS) depicting a very tough moment in the final days of Christ. In it, Christ is being accused, tried and convicted of heresy. Asked by religious leader if he is willing to state that He is the Messiah, He tells the accusers that they wouldn't believe Him if He told them the truth. And then......He tells them the truth.....and......they do not believe Him.
The next scene shows Him being led thru the streets and into a building on His next stop that terrible night. Outside the door we see Peter, the Beloved. The chosen Apostle who Jesus hand picked for leadership of His church after His death. Peter is heartbroken, confused and destroyed emotionally.
A woman approaches him thru the crowd and accuses him of being 'one of them'. His immediate reaction, based off of those emotions tearing him apart is to deny her statement. But she knows and keeps after him again, and again. Upon his third denial, the cock crows. The fear is replaced by despair as he remembers that the Savior prophesied this very moment. He collapses into a heap on the ground, overcome with grief.
Two men denied the Christ. One his enemy, one his dearest friend. One so much a part of the world that he would turn away the very being he had prayed for all his life. The other sure that he had found Him. Yet there they were, on the very same evening, under the very same circumstances. Both men had ultimately failed. Yet one would fade into obscurity, never learning from his mistake, while the other would rise to a level he could never had reached before.
But who am I to judge? I make mistakes all the time, and even with my faith, I stumble. So I am reflecting this Easter on one great question. Am I willing to learn from my mistakes? Am I willing to put aside my natural thoughts and reactions and remold myself into the Savior’s image?
Like Peter, my first reaction may be to come out swinging, or on the other end of the scale, to claim full denial of something I know so well - like I'm fooling anyone, including myself. Either way, I fall victim to allowing a very mixed up society to govern my thoughts and actions, leading me to anger, embarrassment or fault finding.
But the Lord reaches out and reminds me that man's way is not God's way. He teaches me by His great example that I can learn to balance humility, grace and selfless service with courage and the willingness to stand for truth and righteousness.
Yes, I can use the example of the Christ. In everything He did, every word He spoke, He is everything I strive to be. But when I am imperfect, I also can look to Peter.
Peter faltered and brought himself down, by his own actions, to the lowest place a man could go.
The Lord knew from the beginning that Peter would fail Him, yet He also knew that Peter would ultimately be a better man because of it. At first, Peter must have been beyond consolation as I know I would be. But ultimately Peter blessed the Lord for allowing him to experience this most painful of trials....the trial of imperfection and failure.
Let me be like Peter. Let me learn to be able to stand up even when I am weak, even when I am frightened, even when I am angry - because I, like Peter, have seen my weakness changed to strength because The Lord lives. The miracle of Easter is as real and as pertinent today as it was on that first glorious day of the Resurrection because the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been fulfilled and brought back to the earth through a living prophet.
Most of all, I am grateful to my wonderful family, both here on earth and those who have proceeded me to the next level of existence. It is their love and my love for them that helps me to understand His love for us all.
This is my testimony, this glorious Easter season. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.