Es difícil para mí leer estas escrituras sin sentir que el autor esta señalando con el dedo. Pero no lo es. No esta escribiendo desde un lugar de juicio.
I have now spent several days trying to work past the beginning of this chapter. Indeed, I’ve read the chapter now, but I am being drawn back to the very beginning to contemplate “those who do not believe in Christ.” It is a choice, upon which the entire ship sets its course. And because it is a choice, this is something that Moroni knows can be brought to be influenced through the preaching of the Word.
Furthermore, the issue of accepting or not accepting Christ is dimensional, or that of a process. I am trying to find the words that articulate this dilemma of perceptions. Moroni is trying to illustrate that you cannot show up at the judgment bar of Christ unprepared. Using words like nakedness, and filthiness, and a flame of unquenchable fire. But the challenge in using such imagery, true as it may be in the reality of the unrepentant soul at the end of times, is that it is flat. You are either this or your that. Flip or flop. One side or the other.
Then here is the invitation, and something of an ambiguous statement:
O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.Verse 6 (emphasis added)
It’s the use of the word “perhaps” suggesting to my mind the uncertainty of our salvation? This doesn’t coincide with…
I prayed about this, and soon discovered that the spirit in which one can read the scriptures can be completely off mark. The reality is that “perhaps” indicates the instability of the human condition. It’s not God who is random or arbitrary.
A new morning and I am back near the beginning contemplating again the flatness of the depiction of what seems to be to be in reality a very dimensional process of coming unto Christ, embarking on the process of becoming a converted disciple of Christ. With fresh eyes, I can see a little clearer now that those who Moroni addresses, those who will not believe in Christ, this disbelief is what makes the process look flat. From outside the front gate, you cannot see much of what lies beyond.
If one doesn’t walk through the gates in this life, and begin to approach the house of God, and then step through the doors and make their way into the deeper corridors, clean one’s self up, put on the garments (symbolically speaking here), sit in the parlor and enjoy meaningful conversation with the Master of the house, join the Family for meals, and games, and service activities… then of course, of course, you are going to feel like you never belonged here in the first place — feeling naked, feeling like you would rather be consumed by fire, than being forced to stay somewhere that doesn’t feel comfortable to you. (See verses 3-5)
This is a very charitable thing that Moroni has done, causing the unbelieving to contemplate the end, the inevitable end, or the assured final steps of this probation: namely, the final judgment. This is for anyone who would insist that there is no Christ, no God in this world.
Side note: the later end of the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 26:3, Mormon 5:23, and here in verse 2) are these references to the earth being rolled together as a scroll at the end of time. That’s quite a visual, illustrating an rather dramatic end and complete upheaval of things as we know them. As permanent as it seems, this all is a temporary existence.
Will there be empty seats in heaven?
These verses are causing me to consider another interesting dynamic. I have children that are outside the safety net of the gospel of Christ, yet mine and my wife’s marital covenants to each other remain in tack. Where do our children who are presently choosing to reject the Christ and His gospel land if they do not change? If they remain bound to us (because we have covenants to be so to them), but do not want to be with us where we will dwell eternally, what does this look like?
Praying about these questions, I discover two things:
- I am asking the wrong questions. There is an assumption in these questions that my beliefs have already preassigned me to my destination. I know where I am going, but I am by no means already there.
- The covenants that I have made are action-oriented, requiring me not to sit on my laurels with the hope of arriving at the destination, but rather of working towards becoming.
Un Dios de Milagros (A God of Miracles)
Moroni illustrates in this chapter a God of miracles.
My attentions have been drawn to verses 25 -27 this morning. “Who can stand against the works of the Lord?” Moroni asks in verse 26. I am contemplating my involvement with Florence Nightingale, and what I’m learning of her life’s work. I have much to learn about this, but somehow this is God’s work, and I am being enlisted in this, particularly as it pertains to India. ( I re-read this note two days after having written it, and the Spirit reverberated even stronger within me the reality of these truths. Despise not the works of the Lord. )
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.” (vs. 27) Earlier in the same verse is another invitation to “ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever you shall stand in need of.” So here I am again at that moment, where even the Spirit of the Lord encourages me to do the same.
In verse 29, Moroni admonishes us (3x) to avoid unworthiness (twice) and then to be worthy (once). But what is worthiness before the Lord? A reference to Leviticus 22:3 offers this clarification: “Whosoever… that goeth unto the holy things, which… having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord.” (emphasis added) Being worthy, in a spiritually defining way, then has to do with being permitted to dwell in the presence of the Lord.
I am sitting with my own personal history and experiences with the influence of the Lord in my life. I cannot look back in my family life and see a time when I felt that I had walked in unworthiness before the Lord, yet still great hardship has befallen me and my family. In fact, it is quite the opposite, I look back and can see the hand of the Lord with me, even at times and in seasons where I now look back at and say to myself, I should have done this thing better during that time, or my focus should have been elsewhere.
Yet, the Lord has never abandoned me as I have sought him, even in profound states of error. How can such a thing be? How could I be so wrong and yet still qualify for and find grace in His presence?
I am reading through the chapter one more time from top to bottom, highlighting key thoughts as I go:
- God is a Holy Being, one into who’s presence as mortal being we cannot stand the exposure to his physical presence. It was as if we were to be thrust into the core of the sun and not expect to burn.
- Which way am I facing? The only right way to turn is towards Christ, every other direction is wrong. Even towards myself. Verse 6 applies to me as much as any heathen.
- God is a God of miracles. Moroni goes to some length in illustrating this point, offering an outline of the plan of redemption as a proof of God as a Being who works by miracles.