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A Message of Hope from a Painting and a Prophet

painting of Jesus appearing to Mary at the tomb

A rarely seen painting of the resurrected Savior appearing to Mary at the garden tomb was the image chosen to accompany a special invitation to a worldwide broadcast with President Russell M. Nelson on January 16, 2018.

The painting, entitled, “Risen Hope,” by Joseph Brickey, hangs in the annex of the Salt Lake Temple, where the historic event took place that announced President Nelson as the 17th president of the Church, with President Dallin H. Oaks as his first counselor and President Henry B. Eyring as his second counselor.

In this sacred ‘House of the Lord’, with the backdrop of the risen Savior bearing personal witness to Mary, President Nelson emphasized the need to focus on Jesus Christ.

“Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women, and children everywhere,” he said.

Every spiritual blessing and privilege. Those are the promises from a prophet if we choose to follow the Savior on a covenant path. In a world of uncertainty, heartache, and challenges, Jesus Christ is our hope.

That message of hope was the inspiration for Joseph Brickey when he created the painting in 2002 as a single, young adult service missionary for the Church. Renovations were underway on the Salt Lake Temple Annex at the time, and leaders were looking for a new art piece. Brickey was honored that then-prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, selected his painting, “Risen Hope” to become the focal point in the beautifully renovated waiting area, where visitors from all over the world wait while loved ones participate in temple ordinances.

In creating the artwork, Brickey drew from lessons learned about hope while on his full-time mission, and spiritual experiences at the garden tomb in Jerusalem, which he had visited three times before. While painting, he paid special attention to where the light would have fallen on that first Easter morning and how he imagines it would have emanated from the Savior.

“The light reinforces that idea of overcoming death and darkness, of rising above despair, of finding hope,” Brickey said. “Not only is Christ risen, but also Mary’s hope rises when she hears her name from His lips. She represents each of us—this very personal interaction typifies Christ’s role in our lives. He knows us. He watches over us when we weep. His voice overcomes darkness and brings resplendent hope.”

Interviewed just after President Nelson delivered his message of optimism and hope to the world in front of his painting, Brickey reiterated that, “hope hinges on our personal connection to God. Covenants, as spoken of by President Nelson in his special message to members, are what allow for that brightness of hope. Hope and the keeping of our covenants are inseparable.”

“Keep on the covenant path” was the first message from President Nelson as he was introduced to the world as the 17th prophet of the Church. He shared it in the Salt Lake Temple, in front of a painting emphasizing hope, light, a personal connection with Jesus Christ, and His great power to temper our sorrows.

It is all about focusing on Jesus Christ.

“Our divine mandate is to go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, helping to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord,” said President Nelson of the role of the new First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “This we will do with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that He is in charge. This is His work and His Church. We are His servants.”

President Nelson concluded with his strong declaration of devotion to God, our Eternal Father, and to His Son, Jesus Christ. He declared, “I know Them, love Them, and pledge to serve Them—and you—with every remaining breath of my life.” May we all make the same pledge to each other and cause hope to rise throughout the world.