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Mga Bagwis Ng Umaga (Wings of the Morning)

Mga Bagwis Ng Umaga (Wings of the Morning)Copyright © by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-d...
Mga Bagwis Ng Umaga (Wings of the Morning)
Copyright © by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
All Rights Reserved

by Elspeth C. Young, oil on panel, 2021
48 in. x 65 in.
This handmade, original oil painting was created by the artist in the studios at Ben Haven.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns all rights to this painting.  If you have any questions, please contact the Church directly.  
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Artist's commentary about the painting
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me (Psalm 139:9-10).

The Psalmist describes those upon the uttermost parts of the sea as being held in the Lord's right hand.  Accordingly, this painting features the Savior's right hand in a clasp of such foresight (intermingled hands) and such power and resolve that there is no possibility of His failing to lift her—just as He lifts us all.  The painting reminds us of promises with which the Bible and Book of Mormon are replete concerning those upon the isles of the sea; that they are neither lost to nor forgotten by the Lord.  See 2 Nephi 10:7-8, 20-30, 29:7; 1 Nephi 21:8-10; 3 Nephi 16:1-3.

This painting reinforces the Savior's teaching concerning His other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.  or they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice . . . But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them (3 Nephi 16:1-3).  Jeffrey R. Holland, a latter-day Apostle, also reminds us: Jehovah's unrelenting refrain that the Lord's hand is stretched out still (Isaiah 5:25; 9:17, 21) if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts (2 Nephi 28:32).  His mercy endureth forever, and His hand is stretched out still.  His is the pure love of Christ, the charity that never faileth, that compassion which endures even when all other strength disappears (see Moroni 7:46–47).  I testify of this reaching, rescuing, merciful Jesus, that this is His redeeming Church based on His redeeming love ("Prophets in the Land Again," Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 106–7).

Thus, the Savior is depicted here wearing clothing representing the post-mortal Messiah as described by John the Revelator in Revelation 1:13: Clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

The Filipina woman wears white to symbolize her purity (see Revelation 7:9).  She is barefoot, denoting her respect for the sacredness of the ground on which the Savior stands (see Acts 7:33, Exodus 3:5).  Thus, not only will the ministry of the Messiah be a blessing to the people of the Philippines, but the land itself (so plagued with devastating storms and volcanic eruptions) will be blessed.  Her costume is the artist's interpretation of the Philippines traditional national folk costume (i.e., not ceremonial dress) the baro't saya, an icon of their national unity, and a symbol of the long-standing Christianity of the Philippines.

The countenance of the Filipina woman expresses profound worship mingled with the yearning humility of the meek who shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).  Her kneeling posture bespeaks the reverence of testimony, at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him and when every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him (Mosiah 27:31).  Her gaze, which meets the eyes of her loving Master, echoes the promise of Joseph B. Wirthlin, another latter-day Apostle: As a special witness of Him, I testify to you this day that the time will come when every man, woman, and child will look into the Savior's loving eyes.  On that day, we will know with a surety the worth of our decision to straightway follow Him ("Follow Me," April 2002 General Conference).

Both figures are painted on a mountain trail, symbolizing the covenant path (belonging to the ordinances of salvation administered through the Holy Priesthood) and the height to which the mountain of the Lord's house can lift every child of God.  Beyond the figures is the inviting landscape typical of the Philippine Islands.  The vegetation at the feet of the two figures is found on the tops of the mountains on many of the most famous peaks in the Islands.  The flora selected for inclusion in the image has been chosen with commensurate care.

The sunrise and the light emanating from the Savior's figure suggests the glory of His presence and reminds the viewer of the painting's title.  Both figures are clothed in white (the Messiah because He is pure and the woman because she wants to be made so).  This reminds viewers of John' description of the Resurrection, in which those who have not defiled their garments . . . shall walk with [Christ] in white: for they are worthy, and shall be clothed in white raiment, for these are they whose names will be confessed before [the] Father and before his angels (Revelation 3:4).

Find out about the creation of this handmade artwork

Tags: Wings of the Morning (Mga Bagwis Ng Umaga), 2021, Oil paintings and prints, Temple artworks

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