In this world, with its constant barrage of voices, soundbites, smart-phones, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, radio, televison, podcasts, You Tube, etc., it is almost impossible for one individual to be noticed, not to mention heard, above all the racket. In my role as a writer, I can truthfully say that because of the nature of the things I write, I am much more concerned about being heard and helping others than in making money. But, despite my best efforts, most likely, I will be a little footnote somewhere about LDS writers at the turn of the century. It is not my vanity or ambition that rails against this outcome, but my own perceived importance of the message I have tried to deliver: Love redeems. Love heals. Perfect love comes from joining with Christ by submitting to him and joining him under His yoke.
I have written this message in metphor and allegory both as historical and contemporary fiction (Pieces of Paris, The Last Waltz). I have written of it directly in Deliverance from Depression: Finding Hope and Healing Through the Atonement of Christ). I have even woven it into lighter fiction—my mysteries and suspense. However, this little old lady in Utah is preaching to the choir. It is unlikely that my testimony of these things will ever reach beyond the Intermountain West.
But, this Easter, I was studying Christ’s ministry, and was struck with the almost complete failure of it, by almost any standard. He is the author of all that I try to teach. He is the master teacher. And yet, during his lifetime, what was His reach? He was born and raised in one of the most remote corners of the greatest empire the world has ever seen. He came to deliver a gospel of love to his own people, who made up a tiny fraction of that empire’s citizens. He taught for only a matter of months to relatively small numbers of people. He healed and performed miracles, but was often considered blasphemous for his actions. The leaders of the day hated him so powerfully, they wished him dead.
In the end, even his disciples deserted him. The Son of God had made a fleeting impression on what amounted to only a handful of people.
But here is the phenomenon:. In spite of the fact that He was completely rejected in the flesh, that His Gospel of love was scorned, that the good news He brought was not understood, He still went forth and sacrificed Himself, suffering as an offering, making an atonement for all the unbelievers who had and would reject this heartbreaking offering. Christ was rejected of men, and yet because of Him, if we change our lives and cling to those few commandments that were miraculously preserved from His ministry, he will still be our advocate with the Father, sharing his Kingdom.
Put in these terms, was there ever an act so loving, so forgiving, so selfless performed on our earth? How can we not spend our lives, no matter how inconsequential they may seem, wearing ourselves out in attempts to spread this message through every means available? Thanks to modern technology, we have a reach that Christ never had. Yet, the entire Western Civilization was built upon the Judeo-Christian tradition. Christ’s brief teaching ministry changed the Western world, though it started in a manger in Bethlehem and ended in infamy on a cross between two thieves. His Messianic ministry of the atonement changed eternity.
By this measure, should we ever underestimate our power for good? Should we ever give up trying to be heard? Should we cry to the heavens at the unfairness of it all?
The answer is obvious. Unlike His followers in the meridian of time, saving only a few,
we have been given the mission to prepare for His coming in Glory. Our actions, deeds, and testimonies must be robust to be heard in this world. But as Heavenly Father magnified Christ’s words until they filled the known world, He will magnify us, particularly as we use every good opportunity to testify of Him.
G.G. Vandagriff is the author of eleven books, including The Last Waltz: A Novel of Love and War, winner of the 2009 Whitney Award for Best Historical Novel. Her newest novel, Foggy With a Chance of Murder, has already been reviewed on Deseretbook.com, and will appear in the stores shortly. She loves to read and respond to comments on her websites: http://ggvandagriff.com and http://ptsdweb.com, and her blog: http://ggvandagriffblog.com.