An icon, but more than that.
Christ, Jesus is a personification of our moral compass, the right things that can be done. He is the embodiment of goodness. But he’s actually more. He is within our minds, our perceptions. We recall him at times, and imagine his choices.
He’s defined a huge swath religion in people’s lives for millennia now. He carries a message, direct and unabashed, “Do good, fearlessly.”
People have held him as an flag, protecting their army’s moral reason, upholding their premature judgment, or standing within the mind, with open arms when none others are open. He is the protector, the advocate of many. But as a consequence, he is the enemy of others. The cross only summons fear out of their heart. The idea of compliance only incites in them feelings of entrapment and rebellion.
What world lay beyond this one defined by Christianity, all the unintended sorrow and confusion. What would a world be like without a defining icon, inescapable within the mind. Would another rise up and replace him? It doesn’t matter. This wondering is without reason, for I have seen miracles. I’ve known too much to believe there is not a beyond. Whose it is is unknown to me, but I would dare guess that my upbringing within a church of hope and fulfillment defined the miracles of my life. Expectation and confidence gave me miracles.
And I suppose I should burrow deeper and see further. An infant, sickly and dying, I spoke to a picture of Jesus on the wall. A youth, in an accident I caused, where death also loomed, I prayed and was relieved of any further pain. Upon blessing from my Priesthood leaders, I received my feeling back in my body. When I was in my teens a prayer of mine, enveloped with feelings of confidence, let us travel on an empty tank of gas one Sunday.
My father as well, when prompted to be careful, narrowly escaped a bird smashing through his windshield. And when crushed by machinery, was saved by the ghost of his grandfather. When asking for confirmation of God’s will, had his belongings flung into the snow from his truck. Saw his death in dream that allowed him to avoid and witness the situation that would have killed him.
We’re a superstition bunch, but we are also full of hope. And it is hope that men can be motivated by, it is hope that men cannot help but be motivated by. Hope that some world is better than this one, hope that some outcome will be better than what is.
The dissonance of the directions of the world and the prophesies of prophets proves complicated to assimilate. But deeply, hope can press through all barriers. And living by hope is no worse than living by cold planning. We all live and die. And all is life. We learn while we’re here. The defining doctrine of Mormon theology. That we have purpose. That we are here to learn, and from our first conscious thought to our last, learning is inevitable.
We are all on the path, our destination isn’t discoverable, the reasons aren’t provable, but our hope is palpable, and it drives men to be men, inspires many to try, and in the very least, gives us something to do, apart from escaping this lone rock soaring through the black. Incredibly so, our hope is the spawn of generations, the seed of life, and the fuel for whatever man may do in our many, many years to come.