I have no idea if I would have been asked to speak at our Easter Sunday Sacrament service this year.
I'd like to think I would have been asked (and not just because I was reminding my ward leaders to check with our Stake leaders about moving our traditional monthly fast so it wouldn't coincide with Easter Sunday or because I have complained rather loudly when in previous years the talks didn't focus on the Saviour on this important day) as I have a lot that I would like to say.
As I can't say it in person, however, I'll share it here.
Our Church communities are our families and being separated from them is immensely hard, especially at this time of joy that we normally delight in sharing with one another. Yes, we are keeping in touch with phone calls and Whatsapp messages and Whatsapp group chats and Zoom meetings and writing letters, but not seeing them each week in person is odd, I feel like I have a limb missing.
There is one truth however that this experience has made very clear to me.
We are beloved children of a most gracious Heavenly Father who organised a world for us to grow in, to be shaped and moulded and refined. He loved us so much that he crafted a plan so perfect that it would allow us all to return to him, thanks to a loving brother and Saviour helping to tip the scales balance in our favour and I can't think of a more perfect time than Easter to have had this reiterated to me.
Easter Sunday is one of the most important days, if not the most important day of the year for all Christians.
Today we get to remember that Jesus Christ conquered death and because he did, one day we will be resurrected too. It means that death isn't permanent, that we will see our loved ones again, that we will be with our Heavenly Father and our brother who took upon him our wrongs, our sins, so that we would be made spotless and be able to return home to Heaven.
I think that Easter takes on a lot of new meaning for us as Christians this year because of the lockdown measures that many of us find ourselves in.
This year, each of us is locked away in our own homes, not knowing what comes next and worried not only about the future, but about our friends and our extended family and it makes me realise how the Apostles must have felt after Jesus' body was put in the tomb. They were mourning the loss of not only their leader, but their friend, their brother and they didn't really feel prepared to lead without him.
Of course, we know what happens next, the ending to the story and we can draw comfort from this, but they didn't.
They didn't know he was going to be resurrected, they could hope of course that this part of the prophecies would come true, just like at this moment how we are all hoping that life will return to normal soon we just don't know what or when that normal will be.
I think of people, who are alone during this lockdown, how they must be feeling and what insights they may be getting into how Christ may have felt when he was in the garden of Gethsemane. All he wanted was for someone to be with him, he knew what he was doing was for the greater good, but it didn't make it any less hard or any less lonely.
I take great comfort in knowing that Christ has felt all the sadness and discouragement that we feel at this time, that he and God made sure that we would never be alone in our times of need. That we would have them and the Holy Ghost to be with us, to watch over us and to ensure that whilst we may feel discouraged or sad that we know we are loved and that we are not alone.
On this Easter Sunday, I am grateful.
I am grateful for my Father in Heaven, for my Saviour Jesus Christ and for my constant companion the Holy Ghost.
I am grateful to have the time to stop and think and contemplate what they mean to me and what I mean to them.
I am grateful that I know we will one day be together and that the trials we have endured will have helped refine us so that we may be made perfect.