Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Good Shepherd

Inside the Bountiful Temple's atrium, there is a painting of the Savior carrying a sheep out in the Mountains. It is instantly recognizable as the parable of the Good Shepherd.

I looked at the painting really carefully while waiting for a friend to get dressed to leave the temple. I began to think of all the times I was a Good Shepherd, and all the times that I was the sheep, and there have been many times of both of those situations.

I began to notice that the Savior's staff and feet all pointed towards you seemingly because of the way the painting was done. However, no matter what way He seemed to be walking, it always was towards the Temple.

Good shepherds are not satisfied when the sheep enters the church through baptism, or returns to church and their covenants. Good shepherds know that the best place for the sheep to be is in the Celestial Kingdom, so they will always invite the sheep to continue in righteousness until they arrive at the Temple and are sealed by the authority of the holy priesthood to be in an eternal family forever.

Everything we do in the church points to the ordinances in the House of the Lord, and every ordinance in the House of the Lord points back to the Atoning Sacrifice of the Son of God. As we bring people to the fulness of the Everlasting Gospel found in the Temple, we also bring ourselves to the Temple, and redeem our dead.

How beautiful thy temples, Lord!
Each one a sacred shrine,
Where faithful Saints, with one accord,
Engage in work divine.
How beautiful some aid to give
To dear ones we call dead,
But who indeed as spirits live;
They've only gone ahead.

How beautiful thy message, Lord,
The gospel, pure and true,
In these our days to earth restored
And taught to men anew.
How beautiful its faith and hope;
All mankind it would save,
Including in its aim and scope
The souls beyond the grave.

How beautiful thy promise, Lord,
That we may grow in truth,
And live, exalted by thy word,
In endless, glorious youth.
With loved ones sealed in holiness
By sacred temple rites,
Worlds without end we may progress
From heights to greater heights.

The Good Shepherd wants all His sheep who before the world confessed Him their God, all who have lived, or will live. Let us be true undershepherds, and bring all we can of the living and the dead into the House of God.