Father’s Day — a day when we can overstay our bed time, guiltless (while thinking, pondering, praying).
Last night I attended the evening session of stake conference. I was fixated on how comfortable everyone seemed huddled together in the “good ship Zion.” After returning home, Joy and I spent some time talking about “…men are, that they might have joy. (2 Nephi 2:25).” I have to admit, I long for a brotherhood. I don’t know if what I was seeing is what I previously experienced as a form of ignorant bliss, or true unity and brotherhood — a major theme of the meeting. We used to enjoy playing board games, watching movies, watching sports, having friends over for dinner, etc. If not true joy, at least a better substitute than what we experience lately. I thought that I might find joy in helping fix up the synagogue and rabbi’s home, rebuilding Matthew’s engine, etc. I was glad to do it. But, there was no true satisfaction. Real joy — that must come from having an intimate relationship with Christ and the Father.
To a degree, I feel as though I have stepped off the good ship Zion to walk over to Jesus and having seen the wind boisterous, sank. One difference is that unlike Peter, I flail amidst the sea crying out, “save me.”
Which brings up several questions:
- In my metaphor did Christ then walk past me and join the others in the ship where they all waved goodbye as the ship passed beyond? Were they thinking, “what an arrogant idiot?”
- And what exactly was Peter thinking would happen, that he and Jesus would walk together back home? Was he disappointed and/or embarrassed that he had to get back into the ship? Sorry, Peter, you get to repeat 6th grade; no junior high for you.
- And what did Christ mean when he said: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Who/what did Peter doubt? The Father? The Savior? Himself (his faith, his ability, his power, his worthiness)? Some combination? Some like to say that the problem was that Peter took his eyes off the Savior and looked at the turmoil. But, Jesus didn’t say, “Peter, you took your eye off the ball; is it any wonder you got smacked in the head?” The words were little faith, and doubt, not inattention.
It is pretty clear that the LDS have a fellowship and appear to enjoy the cruise. The Messianic Jews similarly have a fellowship, perhaps even stronger. In point of fact, fellowship seems to be at the core of many religions. Safety. Sociality. Symbiosis. Now all of this would be simple if we were talking Zion, where the Lord personally reigned. In such a case, Christ and Church would be coincident. Easy choice.
In this last conference, a strong case can be made that the Lord inspires and is personally involved with the LDS Church. Our experience with the Messianic Jews is that He appears to inspire them, also. He appears to inspire many. How does that work? Each feel that they have been sufficiently inspired so as to declare that they are the elect, the chosen.
15 Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy…. 16 Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children…. 17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren…, which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God. 18 And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people. Amen. (Alma 31:15–18)
But, they can’t all be, can they (e.g., “two churches only“)? So, where is Christ in all of this? “Lo here, lo there.” All seem to have “the form of godliness” (2 Tim 3:5), but come up short when it comes to the power of God. Is Jesus in all these ships? Is He in any of them? If so, why isn’t it obvious? If not, then do all provide some benefit in helping God’s children get closer to Him? Or, do they keep God’s children just far enough away? What is going on here? Do we need to follow Peter and jump ship?
I’m floundering. Please Lord, find me, save me.