He Lived for Us

This poem stuck me as a great one to go along with Alma 34, which I read this week for Come Follow Me. is one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. I especially think about verse 10, where Amulek describes the Atonement as an “infinite and eternal” sacrificed. This has always struck me as odd, because although I certainly see that the effects of Christ’s sacrifice are infinite and eternal, the sacrifice itself seems to have been limited in time and scope. Christ gave up his life, but he was resurrected. He suffered, but He is not suffering now. If any of you have any insight into this, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

One thought I’ve had is that part of the sacrifice that Christ made was sacrificing His life as He lived it to be an example and to be worthy to perform the Atonement. He sacrificed His will entirely and for all eternity, not just in the Garden of Gethsemane when pleading if the cup could pass from Him. 

He Lived for Us

Written on my mission, May 6, 2018

On a mission one spends a lot of time studying and pondering the Atonement. One thing I have been struck with was that Christ didn’t just come down to earth, suffer, die, and resurrect. First, He lived a life. A perfect life. That means that every single choice, every single temptation faced, would have to be faced and overcome perfectly. I can’t imagine the sort of pressure this was on Him, but I am fortunate that because of His perfect life, our lives, though far from perfect now, can become better.

His first steps were not on the road to the hill called Calvary.
His first breath was not taken in the Garden Gethsemane.
His hands were first a carpenter’s hands, before nailed to the cross.
Before He died, our Savior and Redeemer lived for us.
 
Christ was born in Bethlehem, a baby in a manger.
He grew from grace to grace, though to temptation was no stranger.
He always chose the harder right, never the easier wrong.
The Mighty God Jehovah served the weak He was among. 

He taught us how to live our lives, He said, “Come, follow Me.”
He did good long before he died for us on Calvary.
He fulfilled His father’s will in all things from the start,
Until the end, upon the cross, when sin’s pain broke his heart.

He is a man of sorrows, well acquainted with our grief,
But He knew the way to give true healing and relief
Was to be perfect—to bear the weight of the world in every deed.
And when we make His soul an offering for sin, he’ll see His seed.

It’s as if He walked a tightrope over a pit to save a friend—
One misstep and down He’d fall, a poor and unhappy end.
But Christ was perfect! Every step was straight and strong and true
So He could qualify as sacrifice and die for me and you.

He’ll look back, and He can see the travail on His great soul.
But if just one man, through His sacrifice, can be made pure and whole,
He shall be satisfied, His joy in heaven how sublime.
How great a man, my Jesus Christ, how perfect and divine.

Trust

Sent home from my mission Aug 28, 2017

Trust

As I stood on a mountain
He said to me:
“come to the edge.”
and I didn’t because I feared I would fall.

Again He smiled, and beckoned to me:
“come to the edge.”
“No.” I said, “I’ll fall,
I don’t trust myself there.”

Comfortingly, He reached for my hand
I took it, He said:
“come to the edge, and trust me”
I trusted Him, so I followed.

I saw the view, the world,
and as I turned to Him to thank Him
He pushed me off the edge—
and I flew.

The next time that I stood there,
I remembered my flight—
the joy of the view
and the thrill of the hight—

And I thought it’d be wonderful
to do it again,
so I went to the edge
and jumped.

But I fell and didn’t fly!
and as the ground came up to meet me
my thoughts turned to a Savior
who left me all alone

I pleaded for someone to come to me
and saw him there besides me
He told me, “take my hand,
and I will do the rest”

“It’s all in your hands now”
I said, as I grabbed and held on tight
and right before we hit the ground—
we started to fly.

I’ve never left my Savior since,
but still, I’ve often thought—
why could I not do alone
what He did for me?

I’ve realized I’m not strong enough
and need my dear Savior near,
in Him I put my trust and faith—
I put it all in His hands.

The Village of Krasnodosch

Sent home from my mission, Oct 08, 2018

I thought of this poem this week while listening to a conference talk describing the Jewish seder. Jewish families not only set a place for Elijah, but fill his cup to the brim and send a child to the door to see if Elijah is there. (Hosanna and Hallelujah—The Living Jesus Christ: The Heart of Restoration and Easter, by Elder Gerrit W. Gong) I think this tradition is a great example of living with faith. 

My poem this week, tentatively titled “The village of Krasnodosch” (crass- no- doesh, roughly translated as “red rain”), is a story I heard in sacrament meeting once in Ivano-Frankivsk. I put the story to verse, because I think it fits really well. The speaker used it to point out the difference between mere hope and faith. It reminds me of a quote I heard once, that “faith is what we choose to act on every day”. I liked the story and I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!

The Village of Krasnodosch

There once was a small village
With the name of Krasnodosch.
The people there loved God, and they
All followed him with hope.

One spring, the people planted fields,
But then, no rain did fall.
One week turned to two, then three,
The fields weren’t looking well. 

The people all decided they would gather
Together on the next day
And pray that God would send them rain,
So the drought would go away.

The day was hot and cloudless
As the crowd started to form,
But one young girl walked up with an
Umbrella on her arm.

They asked her why, she said, “Well,
Aren’t we here to pray for rain?”
They shrugged, and all together,
They prayed, and then they prayed again.

They prayed for several hours,
But the rain still didn’t fall.
The crowd started to go back home,
But with hope, hearts were full.

“Look!” Said the umbrella girl,
“A cloud!” The crowd all turned
And saw far off a tiny thing,
The name “cloud” barely earned

They watched as it grew closer, and
They watched as it grew big.
They wondered if this answered prayers,
And each sure hoped it did.

The cloud stood right on top of them,
But not a drop fell down
“Schwoop!” the girl’s umbrella went,
But some began to frown

Then, after a while, a drop,
Then one more, two, and then,
Someone opened heaven’s floodgates-
It began to pour down rain.

The town ran home, glad but wet-
Their hope was not in vain.
The umbrella girl, she walked home dry,
For she had prayed in faith.

Would I See Him

Sent home from my mission Aug 07, 2017

The poem I want to share with you this week is one I wrote half of in the MTC around Christmastime, and I finished the rest of it out in the mission field. I thought about what kind of person I would be if I lived in the time of Christ—would I be a shepherd who went and worshiped the baby Jesus, or would I be one of the hundreds or thousands of other people in Bethlehem to whom this was just another baby? 

Would I See Him?

If I’d walked the roads of Palestine
in older, simpler years,
would I have seen a man
drying people’s tears?
Would I listen to His words 
and choose to follow where He goes,
or would I spit on Him, reject Him,
there in Calvary, alone?

If I’d walked the roads of Bethlehem
on a certain silent night,
Would I have seen a baby
in swaddling clothes wrapped tight?
Would I have knelt and sang his praise
and worshiped Him, my Christ, that day,
or would I have been too busy
and continued on my way?

And in the paths I’m on today
in this loud and noisy world,
do I make time to see my Savior
and His gospel flag unfurled?
To pray for truth, and seek His grace
and follow what He taught,
or will I never feel His hand in mine
and do the works He wrought?

As I seek to walk His paths,
and simply serve my brother,
will someone see me, and notice 
as I try to help another?
Will they see my work and think of Him
who served us each so selflessly?
I don’t know, but I did my part
And I that’s enough for me.

I’m Called to Go and Change the World

Originally published 08-03-19

Written Aug 21, 2017

I wrote this poem based on a thought I’ve been having about making a difference, and how it must be one heart at a time:

I’m Called to Go and Change the World

I’m called to go and change the world
and make it a better place,
but I can only change the world
one heart at a time.

I’m asked to cry repentance
and bring my siblings unto Christ,
but repentance only touches people
one heart at a time.

I’m a soldier, God’s elite,
sent to fight Satan’s hosts
but the hardest battles are always fought
one heart at a time.

I talk, I preach, I pray, I hope
that people’s hearts can change.
This gospel brings joy and peace and hope
one heart at a time.

When life gets hard, I’ll stop and think
of why I’m doing this,
why I’m healing up a fallen world
one heart at a time.

And I remember the One who died
and lived to make a difference.
As He did, I too will bless people
one heart at a time.

Each work I say, each deed I do,
is to change the hearts around me
with differences that are only made
one heart at a time.

The Carpenter of Nazareth

Originally published 05-22-19

Written July 5, 2018

I wrote this on my mission, but never sent it home. It is loosely based on a similar
poem I read of the same title. A note I wrote to myself on the side of my notebook on
that day reads “What can’t Christ heal?”

The Carpenter of Nazareth

The carpenter of Nazareth,
he fixes broken things.
Broken tools and broken toys,
whatever people need.

He takes the broken object
and examines it up close.
He feels the break, studies the crack,
and to his tools he goes.

He gently holds the wood in place
and starts to fix the crack,
‘til piece by piece he’s fixed it up
and gives it gently back.

Many come from Nazareth
to the carpenter to ask
if he could fix their broken thing,
if he was up to such a task.

And always, a smile and a reply
that he would try his best.
No one left denied of his care,
each felt an honored guest.

His Son saw all His father’s works
and when He became old
He also fixed up broken things,
but He fixed broken souls.

And as nails pierced this Master’s palms
into a cross of wood,
He gently took each soul in hand
and did what just He could.

He mends our cracks, He heals our wounds,
He picks up fallen souls.
The Son of Nazareth’s carpenter
came to make us whole

The Economics of Happiness

Originally published 03-21-19

This week, I feel like I have received some personal revelation that I need to put forth more effort to coming to know my Savior. One of the things I decided to do is update this blog with a new, spiritual poem every day for a week. I hope this will help me to focus on Christ more this week, as well as to get some more poems on my blog for others to read and enjoy as well.

This poem is based off a comment my dad made once, and an experience I had in Ukraine with a sweet old lady.

The Economics of Happiness

I walked through her bare cement hallway
into her one furnished room.

Breathing through my mouth,
I saw the mostly-intact bookshelves
that held clothes
and a small framed picture of Jesus.

Bent almost square,
she shuffled
deliberately
to the couch
(that was also her bed)
and lowered herself down.

We sat on small stools,
ignoring cockroaches,
and we just listened to her.

I looked at her failing eyes.
she smiled
a smile I’ve rarely seen
in real houses.