Sunday, February 10, 2008

Confessing Christ

I hit high school at the tail-end of the hippie movement, which movement pervaded most things adolescent. Even religious teenagers had gotten into the culture, at least regarding appearance. I remember watching the local college's homecoming parade, one entry in which was the Campus Crusade for Christ. Dressed in sloppy bell-bottom jeans and ratty t-shirts, sporting long stringy hair and sandals, they carried posters and shouted slogans like "Honk if you love Jesus" and "Jesus Freaks and Proud of It." The whole thing bothered me. Something didn't jive.

I know, I know: there are those who would argue that the Savior too wore long hair and sandals. But I suspect there was a gravitas about him different from my parading pals' posture.

Today I see something of a resurgence in public proclamations via t-shirts, bumper stickers and Christian rock music regarding one's belief in Christ that again bothers me. I think it's because of what I, as a Mormon, have been taught to believe about who Jesus Christ really is. We can thank Heavenly Father for revealing through the Prophet Joseph Smith the correct nature of the Savior of the world.

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God. We believe that through Christ's great atoning sacrifice, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of His gospel. We believe that the Atonement provides a literal resurrection for all and empowers us to become what the Apostle Paul testified: "joint-heirs with Christ."

Jesus Christ is dignified. He is perfect and pure and holy. And while he loves us to unfathomable depth and degree, I believe that if given the opportunity to see him, we would not rush up to him and high-five, back-slap, chit-chat or even necessarily embrace him. His magnificence and power would instead cause us to drop to our knees and silently adore, while we waited for his invitation to come to him.

In my observation, those whose lives have been changed by the atoning power of Jesus Christ--be they Mormons or otherwise--behave with greater, not lesser, dignity and purity. The great change His power offers is a change to become MORE like him. Then we will find Christ-like ways to proclaim our belief and worship of him, ways infused with an element of the dignity and reverence He epitomizes and deserves.

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