Friday, May 30, 2014

Sacred Gifts

A few weeks ago my visiting teacher insisted on watching my kids so we could go see the Sacred Gifts exhibit at the MOA. And am I ever glad she did. It changed my relationship with Jesus Christ. He seemed so much more real, more human, more understandable, to me after I saw the exhibit. I saw
Him experience mocking, scorn,


and loneliness

and yet choose the better path through it all. He is your Savior and mine.

I picked out a few paintings that particularly pricked my heart, and taught me a truth in a new way. Ben & I listened to a guided tour on ipads while we went through, so most of the ideas I gained were from listening to the commentators.

"He realized he understood God in a different way than everybody else, and could thereby teach others"

I have felt this urge just has He has. We each have our own personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, and we each understand him differently. We can all be edified by sharing the truths God has taught us about who we are and what we have come here to do.

"The least among you"

In the commentary they talked about how mind-blowing it was for Jesus to teach that we should become as a little child. People viewed them as pests, untrained, and wild, clearly not divine. Even now, though Jesus' teachings have been around for centuries, this idea is embedded in our culture.

The commentator mentioned that the cloth above Jesus' head often signifies royalty in paintings. I would like to think that it is meant for the little child. I try to remember this as I go throughout my day. Despite what I may think about their tantrums, it's not actually me who's closer to Jesus Christ, it's them. What can I learn, how can I grow closer to Jesus Christ by being with you all day?

Agony in the Garden

Jesus Christ went through great suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. In our lives, we will go through great hardships. Heartbreaking loss, unending torment, real pain. Yet we are never alone. If we could open our eyes, we would be able to see our angels, those who support us through our trials. Who comfort us when we think no one can see our true suffering. They are saying, "I can see you. What you are going through is hard." And their arms are literally embracing us, though our mortal eyes are not aware.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the Crucifixion

This picture of Mary comes to my mind the most often. What a noble lady she was. What a high calling she had in this world and the world before, as the mother of Jesus. Yet her life was not picture perfect by any means, despite being highly favored of the Lord. She gave birth to the Son of God in a dirty stable. She had to flee to Egypt to keep her son from getting killed. As a young boy, her son was hard to keep track of, as he was teaching in the temple. Then in his adulthood, she watched as people scourged her son. As they defamed him. She watched as people ridiculed and mocked him. She was the mother of this man that the world hated. Her life was not easy, peaceful, blissful. Then, when life undoubtedly seemed unbearable, she watched her son be crucified. This painting is meant to capture her at the height of it all. It says in the scriptures that Jesus Christ was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Can we not also say that about his mother? Look at the expression on her face, the sorrow and the pain she felt.

Why does this painting stick out to me? It may seem odd, since, at this stage of my life, I haven't been asked to go through anything gut-wrenching. Although I have been tested, it's been through light-filled things like building a family and going to school, and for that I am truly grateful.

I guess it's just a reminder to me that there's something bigger than this life that we are all a part of. God has a plan for us that extends beyond our mortal experience.

I want to reach out and touch that part of life that is bigger than me. I want to live it, breathe it, feel it. I want it, and God wants you to want it too.

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