Easter’s Promise and the Atonement

Every day I’m watching for signs of spring–symbols of Easter’s promises. Easter’s first promise—of the resurrection means so much more to me now that I have so many loved ones already awaiting it. However, the promise I’m thinking of today is the one that depends on our choice to accept the Savior’s atoning gifts of forgiveness, renewal, and the cleanliness of a new heart.

A few springs ago Doug and I worked in the yard pruning roses, raking leaves, digging out from winter. We hadn’t thoroughly cleaned out the rose hedge for several years (I’ll use my auto accident and injury as an excuse) and it turned into a major project. The pungent smell of dead leaves contrasted with the fragrance of spring blossoms; I kept thinking of symbolisms–how the project resembled cleaning out my heart after the long winter of my soul–getting out all the debris, the dead leaves and dry twigs of old patterns, false beliefs, and traditions. I removed clipped branches from previous prunings that had fallen into the hedge; they were dry, withered, brittle, and I thought of John 15:5 “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire.” Because I hadn’t finished the cleanup job when I originally clipped them, but had left to be gathered up later, I thought of half-finished repentance and how much harder the job can be when I’ve neglected it for a time. Continue reading