Truman G. Madsen wrote:

Some time ago, the Tabernacle Choir preformed in Jerusalem within the sequestered garden known as the Garden Tomb. For nearly three hours that sacred place was reserved for them to make a video recording. No place in the holy city is more evocative of events that took place during the last week of Jesus’ life. Perhaps that is the . . . actual open tomb where he turned Mary’s tears of sorrow into tears of joy on resurrection’s morning.

In that impressive setting the choir rehearsed and sang the moving and powerful anthem, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” sometimes called “Love So Amazing.” The song’s final stanza read:

See from his head, his hands, his feet, Sorrow and blood flow mingled down!

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all! . . .

We watched as members of the choir prepared, rehearsed, strolled in silence, then returned to their positions. We read their faces with increasing awe, renewal, and smothering joy. As they faced the tomb and listened to the words they themselves were singing, each “take” was more revelatory. A kind of musical covenant was being renewed in the glorious voice they gave to the melody and inspiring text. It was as if we were hearing the singing that ushered the baby Jesus into the world and that will accompany him the second time, when he returns amidst clouds of glory.

Perhaps the choir did not need the visual aid. Perhaps they brought to this hour more than they found. But it is not enough to say that the experience was impressive to those of us who stood listening nearby. The music and the words permeated all the sensitive places in our souls. . . .

We all live with the awareness that there are emotional depths within us that cannot be expressed. In the scriptures that span the ages, the prophets have dwelt with particular delight on the scene yet to come: the day of reunion when we are encircled in the arms of Christ’s love. At that great finale, our hearts will be given the wings of song as one voice:

“All shall know me, who remain, even from the least to the greatest, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying: . . . The Lord hath redeemed his people; . . . The Lord hath gathered all things in one”   Doctrine and covenants 84:98, 100

This is what the prophets and patriarchs have called “the new song,” the song of newness, “the song of redeeming love”. In that burst of harmony, we will rejoice in the echo of Christ’s high-priestly prayer: “That they all may be one” (John 17:21)

That at-one-ment of Jesus Christ achieves that all-inclusive oneness. There is no higher manifestation of love.

Truman G. Madsen, The Gift of the Atonement (Salt Lake City; Deseret Book, 2002) 129-30)

 

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