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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Guest Post: The Lonely Easter

Richard Tait is the proud father of a married son attending BYU-Idaho, and a beautiful YSA daughter getting general education credits out of the way at a junior college . He has been married to the same woman for 27 years, and its been the best 25 years of his life. Richard writes for his own blog, Mormon Third Eye, where he talks about the Third Eye ... the notorious eye in the back of the head, or the extra view of life that God blesses parents striving to do the right thing with so they can see more of life than the children they chase after. Amazingly, Richard hasn't missed a weekend post in over 230 weeks, a streak that started soon after he was released as Seattle Jon's bishop in Maryland. You can read Richard's other guest posts here.

via this blog
“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

The Taits had a lonely Easter that weekend. I was starting a one-week business trip in a far-flung land so far away that it required me to be there on Sunday to be ready for Monday; our son was saving souls in North Carolina with his missionary companion; our daughter was still in school in Utah, and Deon was trapped at home holding down the fort. Technically, we weren't alone; we all spent time with someone we could be comfortable with - we just were not with each other.

Usually, it's never good to be alone during the holidays; I highly recommend against it. Easter, however, may be an exception. I don't think it is truly possible to comprehend in even a small way the Lord's atonement for us unless we are alone.

The atonement that Jesus wrought on our behalf was both infinite and eternal in its scope and application. To fulfill these requirements he would have to know and feel of every pain and sorrow mankind has felt. This includes the terrible agony of loneliness. Perhaps this is why God left him alone on the cross for a few moments? So he could know and feel what it was like to be alone?

Elder Holland explained it this way: “To all such, I speak of the loneliest journey ever made and the unending blessings it brought to all in the human family. I speak of the Savior’s solitary task of shouldering alone the burden of our salvation. Rightly He would say: “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me. I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold [me].”

So it's OK to be alone on Easter. Being alone on this day of all days seems to grant appropriate respect for the loneliness the Savior shouldered on our behalf.

Our family's impromptu brush with loneliness will last only a short season. Towards the end of August, our son will be back from his mission; our daughter will be home from school; I'll be done with my business trips, and Deon will still be there keeping the home fires burning. What a joyous day that will be!

The Savior's lonely atonement makes it possible for us to never be lonely again; it is only through him that we may join our complete families in the Celestial Kingdom and enjoy the endless fruits of living in his presence. What a joyous day that will be!

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