Guest Post: Reflections of Christ- If you build it, they will come

 The Millennial Star is pleased to present the following guest post from Cecily Markland. Cecily is an amazing writer with an extensive resume.  

She has over 18 years experience as a writer, editor, project manager and journalist. Her past experience includes freelance writing for the “Ogden Standard Examiner”, the Gilbert Independent Newspaper and she for the last eight years has served as the editor of “The Beehive“. 

Cecily is the mother to six children and grandmother of 11. You can visit Cecily’s web site and blog “The Buzz” by clicking here.  

 In true “if-you-build-it-they-will-come” fashion, the Reflections of Christ exhibit at the Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center drew more than 1,500 people in the first three days it was open. 

Now, several weeks later, crowds of up to 600 or more a night continue to converge on this unique exhibit of fine art photographs depicting the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, complemented by a companion documentary and a soundtrack with original arrangements of familiar hymns.

The draw may have come from the fact that many people already were familiar with the work of professional photographer Mark Mabry, Jr., and that they wanted to see his technical excellence and undeniable skill on display. Others may have heard of videographer and documentary producer, Cameron Trejo, and his laudable talent for capturing a story on film. Still others may have come because they knew that anything featuring the music of Clyde Bawden and Jason Barney would have to be good.

Yes, I would guess that technique and talent and all the trappings of professionalism may have been part of it—but I believe it is something more, a much different force, that is at work here.

Whereas other artistic endeavors may provide ample fodder for the curious and the critical, who come, stand back, and take it all in, Reflections of Christ envelops viewers, involving them in a complete, soul-changing, extremely personal experience and encounter with the Savior. Rather than exalting the artist, this exhibit extends an invitation to come to Christ, to awaken your faculties to his majesty and mission.

The force behind it all—the very reason this exhibit works to begin an amazing work in others—comes down to consecration. And, in that, I believe, is a lesson for us all.

From the beginning, when Mark, a 30-year-old father of three, first proposed his idea for doing a “Christ-centered” photographic project, he willingly placed his time and talents on the altar, if you will. It was that very devotion, his total commitment to the project and his desire to offer the very best in workmanship and personal worthiness that began to work a change in others as well.

His enthusiasm, his desire to encounter Christ with a new perspective, to see him in a more personal way—exacted the same from others. As Mark began to use his time and talents to testify of Christ, many others heard, and did likewise.

Individuals began opening their stores, contributing countless hours and resources—to help with everything from location scouting and model casting, from costume preparation to gathering props, from recording sessions, to photo finishing, printing and framing. By the time it was finished, more than 100 people had been involved—more than 100 had felt the magnetic power of this consecrated effort.

For me, traveling to Mexico with Mark and his crew to observe the photo shoot of the “walking on water” and “Peter and the fish” was a singular event. In the guise of reporting on the exhibit for The Beehive newspaper, I became a student. I learned by example and by the spirit lessons far too numerable and much too sacred to list here.

Among the lessons, I observed that those who are doing their work for the Lord don’t complain about long drives and physical discomforts—even if that means walking barefoot across razor-sharp rocks or being immersed in icy water. I learned that preparation requires considering things technical and physical, but that it is spiritual preparation that supplants even faulty batteries and broken lights to truly illuminate ones efforts. I learned that Christ’s question, “Lovest thou me, more than these?” applies directly to me and to the “fish” that distract me from leaving my nets and following fully.

Most of all, I witnessed what consecration accomplishes. I saw and knew, and now understand that, yes, “if YOU build it,” they may come, but if you turn over your time, talents and very will—allowing the Lord to build a great work through you—others will come, they will partake, they will be changed and they, too, will begin to become yet another Reflection of Christ.

10 thoughts on “Guest Post: Reflections of Christ- If you build it, they will come

  1. Wow, Cecily, this sounds like a great exhibit. Six hundred people a night? That is amazing. Thanks for bring our attention to this work.

    It is great to see how much attention is being focused on the Savior lately, especially with the great new edition of the Ensign and the Church web site on Him.

  2. Cecily, thank you for this wonderful post on Reflections of Christ!!

    For those who are interested, you can visit the official Reflections of Christ blog by clicking here.

  3. Cecily,
    Thank you for the article, particularly for your perspective on consecration. I have heard that the display is marvelous, and I am grateful to have this background information on the creators, especially since they have chosen to place Christ in the foreground.

  4. What a great post, Cecily! You make me want to head for Arizona right now. I’m putting it on my list to go see the exhibit next time I come down.

  5. Cecily,
    I was able to visit the Reflections of Christ exhibit on my recent trip to Arizona. My hostess had heard that we should see the video on the making of the exhibit first, so we did. It was a good decision. The photographs are truly amazing, and seeing the video first enhanced our enjoyment of them. It is an outstanding and inspiring collection.

  6. You convinced me, Cecily. Here I am, no more than ten minutes from the Temple, and I still haven’t seen the Reflections of Christ presentation at the visitor’s center. I’m ready to repent and go. I’m impressed with the talent and the work that went into it, but even more so with the spiritual quality of the results. It would be a sorrow to miss.

  7. Thanks, all! Yes, the display is inspiring and well worth seeing. For those who can’t make it to Arizona, be sure to check out Mark’s blog and the Reflections of Christ videos on YouTube. This whole endeavor is such a great reminder that each of use can use our talents to testify!

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