I’m happy to see this

I’m happy to see this March 25, 2024


Next month in Jerusalem
A view from the assembly room of BYU’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, where, among other things, Sabbath services and regular concerts are held. That’s a covered piano in the foreground.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

This week commemorates the most important week in the history of the world.  Here are some links that might help you to mark it, to remember it, and to ponder its meaning:

Christianity Today:  “Why Every Day This Week Is Holy: Christians should celebrate from Palm to Easter Sunday—and everything in between.”

“The ‘Lamb of God’ Seeks to Spread the Hope of Jesus Christ at Easter Season: Rob Gardner’s oratorio about the Savior’s death, Atonement, and Resurrection is performed by volunteers around the world”

“#BecauseofHim: New Ways to Celebrate Christ This Easter: New resources at ChurchofJesusChrist.org provide ideas and ways to share and celebrate Christ this Easter season”

“Resources to Help Teach Children About Holy Week and Easter: Activities, messages, scripture verses and videos are available online”

Easter-related video testimonies are now up for Elders Quentin L. Cook, D. Todd Christofferson, Neil L. Andersen, Ronald A. Rasband, Gary E. Stevenson, Dale G. Renlund, Gerrit W. Gong, Ulisses Soares, and Patrick Kearon of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  See “First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve testify of the Savior in Easter video series: Over the two weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, a new video will be posted each day with Apostles’ testimonies of Jesus Christ.”

J'lm from Olivenberg
Jerusalem, as seen from the Mount of Olives.  The gray dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is visible in the distance beyond the golden Dome of the Rock, which is situated on the Temple Mount.   (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

I’m very pleased to see the idea of “Holy Week” catching on in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It isn’t an “ordinance” of the Gospel — any more, strictly speaking, than the observance of Christmas or of Easter itself is — but, like Christmas and Easter, it provides a good opportunity to remember and to talk about Christ.

Sweet is the work, my God, my King,
To praise thy name, give thanks and sing,
To show thy love by morning light,
And talk of all thy truths at night.  (Isaac Watts, 1674-1748)

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.  (2 Nephi 25:26)

Why have Latter-day Saints, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not historically celebrated “Holy Week”?

For one thing, Easter simply hasn’t received as much emphasis in American and Western culture as Christmas has.  Sometimes, in my experience, Easter has passed with scarcely a mention, and particularly so if Easter bunnies and Easter eggs are set aside.  On the other hand, mentions of Christmas now seem to proliferate in television ads and department store windows even before Halloween.  I guess that Easter simply hasn’t been as successfully commercialized as “Xmas” has.

Among Latter-day Saints in particular, though, I think that the primary reason for the absence of Holy Week may be as simple as this:  The large majority of our early members and early leaders, not only in America and Canada but in Great Britain and Scandinavia and elsewhere, came from backgrounds in low-church Protestantism.  They did not, by and large, come out of the liturgical traditions that most celebrated Holy Week.

So it’s not as if they entered the Church bringing Holy Week with them, only to have their new church sternly reject it.  They didn’t bring it with them at all, and they didn’t miss it.  And, as I’ve already said, Palm Sunday and Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday and Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and Black or Holy Saturday aren’t requirements or ordinances of the Restored Gospel.

But I think that many of us can now recognize that, in an increasingly secular and godless world, reminders of Jesus and of what he did for us are not exactly in oversupply.  So it’s good to see Holy Week entering in among the Latter-day Saints, at least to a small degree.

Kinisat al-Qiyama fi Madinat al-Quds. Sawfa nazuruha ba‘da ayyamin qalilatin slkdjflsjdfljsklsurruru
A relatively uncrowded day at the entrance to Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre — the Kinisat al-Qiyama (Arabic for “Church of the Resurrection”) — to many Christians, built on the site of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ and, thus, the most sacred building in Christendom.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

I’m really wrestling with the question of whether certain of my anonymous online critics are genuinely dim or whether their passionate personal malice toward me has just left them either temporarily or permanently deranged.  Whatever the reason, time after time after time they can’t seem to follow an argument or grasp a position or understand simple English.  And then, egging each other on to ever greater heights of absurdity, they beat me up for days on end over views that I don’t hold and over claims that I’ve never made.  It’s weird.  In fact, it’s oddly reminiscent of the mirrors in a carnival fun house.

Dakhil Kinisat al-Qiyama
Inside Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Golgotha —  which, if the identification is correct, may perhaps have been slightly modified from its original appearance.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

I’m still glowing about this, to be honest:

“The landmark Kirtland Temple reopens for public tours: See the first photos: Latter-day Saint historian praises Community of Christ for more than a century of preservation of the sacred site: ‘This is the original place. This literally is that place where the Savior appeared’”

“The Kirtland Temple and Historic Buildings in Nauvoo Are Open for Public Tours: Also, the Church History Museum on Temple Square is exhibiting sacred artifacts transferred from Community of Christ”

Das Gartengrab
The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem: Is this really the place?

Newly posted on the website of the Interpreter Foundation, which has supposedly been dying since shortly after its launch but which, somehow, never actually manages to die:  Interpreter Radio Show — March 17, 2024

During the 17 March 2024 episode of the Interpreter Radio Show, Bruce Webster and Kris Frederickson and Martin Tanner discussed Come, Follow Me Book of Mormon lesson 15, the Church’s security procedures, and the acquisitions from the Community of Christ.

Their conversation is now available to you sans commercial interruptions, sans charge, and sans inconvenience.  The “Book of Mormon in Context” portion of this show, for the Come, Follow Me Book of Mormon lesson 17, will also be posted separately on Tuesday, April 2.

The Interpreter Radio Show can be heard on Sunday evenings every week of the year from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640, or you can listen live on the Internet at ktalkmedia.com.



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