ONE || Elder Gong opens his talk with the story of Ivy, a little girl learning to play the violin. To show the Gongs what she knows about violin, she opens her case, rosins her bow, and then puts it away. She only has a little bit of knowledge, but she has faith in what she does know. Like Ivy, we may only know a few things as we work on mastering mortality. Right now, I don't know how to parent with perfect patience. I don't always understand the voice of the Spirit, or provide the ideal conditions for its companionship. But--hallelujah--because of Jesus Christ, I can develop these essential skills, with His help and His forgiveness. It doesn't matter how very much we have left to learn if we can trust the Lord enough to cry hosanna--save us--and cling to Him.
TWO || Hosanna is a question--will you save us?--and Hallelujah is an answer--I have saved you. As I go through daily life, I find myself asking the question of Hosanna over and over again. Will my family be okay as we make important decisions about career and moving? Yes, because we are promised His help and guidance. Will I ever overcome my personal weaknesses that sometimes seem to choke out any good that I might do? Yes, the Savior already overcame them on my behalf, and He will hold me up as I earnestly repent and turn to Him over and over again. Will my life have a happy ending? Yes, because He cleanses me with His power so I can return home.
THREE || Towards the end of his talk, Elder Gong says he is "filled with a sense of gospel adventure and gratitude" by the people he meets through his service as an apostle. Can we focus in on that word "adventure" for a moment? Sometimes I am prone to grow weary in day to day life. The daily tasks of caring for my family and repenting of my mistakes (over and over again, it sometimes seems) can feel like a drag, like rolling a stone up a hill all day only to watch it roll back to the bottom each evening. But if we look at mortality with an eternal perspective, it truly is an amazing adventure. We chose to leave the security of our heavenly parents to live in bodies that can feel the deepest pain and the greatest joy through our senses. We chose to experience things outside the realm of possibility if we stayed in our premortal state. All of this comes as we seek an amazing dream--returning to our home and our beloved heavenly parents and older brother with our own eternal families and exalted bodies. It really is an adventure.
"Hosanna is our plea for God to save. Hallelujah expresses our praise to the Lord for the hope of salvation and exaltation. In hosanna and hallelujah we recognize the living Jesus Christ as the heart of Easter and latter-day restoration."
GERRIT W. GONG
"Because 'God Himself atoneth for the sins of the world,' the Lord's Atonement can make whole not only what was but also what can be."
GERRIT W. GONG
THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE
This week, use the declarations of hosanna and hallelujah to pattern your prayers. As you ask for help and forgiveness, remember the word "hosanna" and picture the crowd in Jerusalem waving their palm leaves. As you thank Him for blessings, keep the word "hallelujah" in your heart. Consider listing in your journal some of your hosanna moments and hallelujah moments this week.