Come, Follow Me: Christ is at the Center

Heavenly Father has asked that we actively “Hear Him” so we may have happiness in this life and return to Him.

In the Saturday evening session of the April 2020 General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson revealed to us a new symbol for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This was, he explained, in continuation of the “course correction” that began in earnest in 2018 to put the Savior back in His rightful place in the name of His church:

We have gone to these extraordinary efforts because when we remove the Lord’s name from the name of His Church, we inadvertently remove Him as the central focus of our worship and our lives. When we take the Savior’s name upon us at baptism, we commit to witness, by our words, thoughts, and actions, that Jesus is the Christ. …

To help us remember Him and to identify The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Lord’s Church, we are pleased to introduce a symbol that will signify the central place of Jesus Christ in His Church.

Opening the Heavens for Help,” -President Russell M. Nelson, April 2020

The new symbol, beautifully designed, does indeed put Christ in its very center. Unfortunately, not everyone saw that as a good thing.

If you are active on social media, it’s likely you saw some of the complaints about or “revisions” to this symbol within the first several hours after the Lord’s prophet revealed it to His church. (If you did not see anything of the sort, count your blessings.) The complaints were varied, but the common thread running through all of them (or at least the ones I saw) was dismay that it was Christ in the center rather than a representation of some or all of us. One commenter went so far as to suggest that putting Christ so much in the foreground was something like a usurpation of the glory and honor of God the Father.

This person would perhaps have done well to have paid more attention to President Nelson’s Sunday morning conference address:

However, messages from our Heavenly Father are strikingly different. He communicates simply, quietly, and with such stunning plainness that we cannot misunderstand Him

For example, whenever He has introduced His Only Begotten Son to mortals upon the earth, He has done so with remarkably few words. On the Mount of Transfiguration to Peter, James, and John, God said, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” His words to the Nephites in ancient Bountiful were “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.” And to Joseph Smith, in that profound declaration that opened this dispensation, God simply said, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

Hear Him” -President Russell M. Nelson, April 2020

It is literally impossible for us to somehow dishonor God the Father by following His direct command to hear His Beloved Son. But it is fair and even useful to ponder on why it is that our Father in Heaven has unfailingly directed our attention to His Son; why is it that, when He has spoken to mortal men, that He directs them to “Hear Him,” and not, “Hear Me?”

This is not the sort of question I am going to claim to have a quick and easy answer to, but I do have a couple of ideas — the main one being that our Father in Heaven, being perfect, knows how to give credit where it’s due. The fact is, if you have any faith at all in our Father’s Plan of Happiness, then you must also understand that Jesus Christ is the One on whom that entire plan has depended from the start. Without Him, it all falls apart. It is by His blood that we can be made clean, by His stripes we are healed. And it is by His triumph over death that we have the assurance that we ourselves, and our loved ones, will live again, no matter what this world throws at us.

He did not do this for Him; He did it for us. At the behest of the Father, and by His own will, He made our welfare the center of His life and did for us essential things which we could not do for ourselves. Seen in that light, making Him and His gospel the center of our lives becomes less a cause for consternation and more a reverential responsibility — a duty borne of devotion.

Do not resent Christ’s central place in the Church or in His gospel; rejoice that He cares enough about you, and me, and all of us, to have thoroughly earned it.

This Easter Sunday, review those things which He has done for us. Give thanks to our Father in Heaven for the gift of His Son. And in this time of fear and grief and uncertainty, it is more important than ever to go and do those things which best show our Savior our love and appreciation for Him and what He did: to repent, to forgive, to invite His influence into our lives, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

In short, we must diligently seek to, “Hear Him!

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You can follow Angela on Twitter at @angelaisms.

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