Friday, May 27, 2011

Washed Clean

My boys have enjoyed the new park by our house. My 2 year old and 5 year old especially love the shallow rocky creek that runs through it. They love to cross back and forth, to toss pebbles in and to balance on the rocks in the middle. But so many days when we come home from the park, we have muddy kiddos in the backseat of the car. It seems I have given more baths since we moved here than any other time!

(And I still keep forgetting to buy a plug for that tub when I am at Wal-Mart. Why is that!)

So when, for my scripture study this morning, I was reading an article about Jesus Christ by Elder Boyd K. Packer, I was reminded of a poem he wrote and shared in General Conference several years ago. I have read this many times and shared in a talk and a couple of lessons since then. It is great for all of us living in this wonderful, but messy world.

Perhaps we don't suffer from 'spiritual leprosy', but there are other ways of being spiritually unclean. Whether we just need a daily bath of repentant prayer or we need a long lasting cure for 'spiritual cancer', we need the Savior. Because "all are fallen, all are lost."

We can't help but become dirty and soiled. We all need to be cleansed.

I so need to be cleansed.

Washed Clean

In ancient times the cry “Unclean!”
Would warn of lepers near.
“Unclean! Unclean!” the words rang out;
Then all drew back in fear,
Lest by the touch of lepers’ hands
They, too, would lepers be.
There was no cure in ancient times,
Just hopeless agony.
No soap, no balm, no medicine
Could stay disease or pain.
There was no salve, no cleansing bath,
To make them well again.
But there was One, the record shows,
Whose touch could make them pure;
Could ease their awful suffering,
Their rotting flesh restore.
His coming long had been foretold.
Signs would precede His birth.
A Son of God to woman born,
With power to cleanse the earth.
The day He made ten lepers whole,
The day He made them clean,
Well symbolized His ministry
And what His life would mean.
However great that miracle,
This was not why He came.
He came to rescue every soul
From death, from sin, from shame.
For greater miracles, He said,
His servants yet would do,
To rescue every living soul,
Not just heal up the few.
Though we’re redeemed from mortal death,
We still can’t enter in
Unless we’re clean, cleansed every whit,
From every mortal sin.
What must be done to make us clean
We cannot do alone.
The law, to be a law, requires
A pure one must atone.
He taught that justice will be stayed
Till mercy’s claim be heard
If we repent and are baptized
And live by every word. …
If we could only understand
All we have heard and seen,
We’d know there is no greater gift
Than those two words—“Washed clean!” 

I love this poem. It speaks to my inner self in ways that normal words cannot. But then there was this section of Elder Packer's article that was very illustrative of the great power Jesus had within himself. It helped me see the Atonement in a way I had not yet seen it before. Perhaps it will bless your life too. I just had to share.

Atonement of Jesus Christ

Before the Crucifixion and afterward, many men have willingly given their lives in selfless acts of heroism. But none faced what Christ endured. Upon Him was the burden of all human transgression, all human guilt. And hanging in the balance was the Atonement. Through His willing act, mercy and justice could be reconciled, eternal law sustained, and that mediation achieved without which mortal man could not be redeemed.
He by choice accepted the penalty in behalf of all mankind for the sum total of all wickedness and depravity; for brutality, immorality, perversion, and corruption; for addiction; for the killings and torture and terror—for all of it that ever had been or all that ever would be enacted upon this earth. In so choosing He faced the awesome power of the evil one, who was not confined to flesh nor subject to mortal pain. That was Gethsemane!
How the Atonement was wrought we do not know. No mortal watched as evil turned away and hid in shame before the Light of that pure being. All wickedness could not quench that Light. When what was done was done, the ransom had been paid. Both death and hell forsook their claim on all who would repent. Men at last were free. Then every soul who ever lived could choose to touch that Light and be redeemed.
By this infinite sacrifice, “through [this] Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” 
(from "Who is Jesus Christ?" by President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ensign/Liahona magazine, March 2008)

No comments:

Post a Comment