Easter greetings from the Congo, an Easter hymn from an atheist, and a message from modern apostles

Easter greetings from the Congo, an Easter hymn from an atheist, and a message from modern apostles April 15, 2019

 

Housman Grab
A. E. Housman’s grave at St. Laurence Church, Ludlow, Shropshire, England
(Wikimedia Commons)

 

On the website of the Intepreter Foundation:

 

“The Kinshasa DR Congo Temple: A Personal Perspective: Part 3: Happy Easter from the DR Congo!”

 

***

 

I’m very fond of the excellent second-tier English poet A. E. Housman (d. 1936), who, along with writing such works as “To an athlete dying young,” from A Shropshire Lad, was a prominent classicist at the University of Cambridge.  The melancholy mood of many of his poems speaks to me.  I’ve even made a minor pilgrimage to his grave.

 

Housman was an atheist, and sometimes a hostile one.  But he had moments of yearning.  This poem, entitled “Easter Hymn,” captures those feelings of longing for a belief that, in the end, he simply couldn’t muster.  It expresses wonderfully well part of the Christian hope invested in this season of the year and, more particularly, in the event that it commemorates.  And so, as is my custom, I share Dr. Housman’s brief poem at this Eastern season:

 

If in that Syrian garden, ages slain,
You sleep, and know not you are dead in vain,
Nor even in dreams behold how dark and bright
Ascends in smoke and fire by day and night
The hate you died to quench and could but fan,
Sleep well and see no morning, son of man.

But if, the grave rent and the stone rolled by,
At the right hand of majesty on high
You sit, and sitting so remember yet
Your tears, your agony and bloody sweat,
Your cross and passion and the life you gave,
Bow hither out of heaven and see and save.

 

The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expresses no such doubt in its 2019 Easter Message:

 

He is risen! (see Matthew 28:6). This is the glorious message of Easter and great reminder of the victory of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The Savior was resurrected, as we all will be. He suffered so that He could succor us in all of our trials. He paid the ransom for us as Heavenly Father’s children so that we could be delivered from death and sin.

The “lively hope” (1 Peter 1:3) we are given by the resurrection is our conviction that death is not the conclusion but a necessary step from mortality to immortality. We should all praise God for the assured resurrection that makes our mortal separations temporary and gives us the hope and strength to carry on.

We thank God for His Son—for Christ’s mission in mortality and for Christ’s ministry as the resurrected Lord. We testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He is our Creator, Savior and Redeemer, Advocate with the Father, and Deliverer. One day He will return to rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.

 

Posted from San Diego, California

 

 

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