Rough Sketch of Weekend
This weekend was pretty amazing. I spent Friday working on the rocks (floor of the porch and downstairs wall), and then attending the erev and oneg at the Chavurat HaMashiach. After cleaning the church, I attended the Shabbot services at the same. After returning home, Joy and I left for “the farm” to attend a worship service there. On Sunday morning, after preparing for church (LDS) and thinking that I would have time for personal worship and prayer, we ended up having a lengthy discussion about the plan of salvation with Megan and Zack, a single mother and a friend who are staying with us while they try to get back on their feet. The conversation began with Megan asking how our prior evening had gone. In the end, it just wasn’t right to abandon her desire to understand our doctrine of preexistence, resurrection, judgement, exaltation, and all that goes with all of that. If you knew Megan, you would understand that superficial conversation about spiritual matters is wholly inadequate. During fast and testimony meeting, I bore witness of the character of the Father.
Before I dig deeper into some of the details, let me provide one of the key bottom line items: Praise G0d! I am beginning to have more constant companionship with the Holy Ghost, and feel as if I have been ministered to by those on the other side of the veil (no, I still have not seen through the veil — though I am beginning to actually believe that through the continued process of obedience, cleansing, purification, and sanctification I might find myself worthy of the same), and have been given the opportunity to minister in His name. This is a big bottom line. And, that is only one aspect! Praise Him who is the perfect example of meekness and glory! Praise Him, who would consider as important the lowly station of this wannabe servant! All power, honor, and glory be unto Him, forever, and ever!
Shabbot Services — Day 4
Friday evening’s services were much the same as any similar meeting at the synagogue. Joy was nice enough to attend with me, as I didn’t feel strong enough to drive, Friday being the 4th day of fasting for me. Now lest you misunderstand, this doesn’t mean that I fasted 96 hours. Rather, I had fasted 4 X 22+ hours, nourishing and re-hydrating myself at the end of each day. As usual, I enjoyed the expansive feeling of the Spirit as the group worshiped in prayer and (more especially through) music. The meal was wonderful. Isn’t it amazing how much better things taste when you are really hungry. Isn’t it amazing how much more you appreciate the life sustaining qualities of water when your tongue is sticking to the inside of your mouth and throat?
Shabbot Services — Day 5
Saturday morning was much the same. Rabbi Reuel gave a great lesson on the grafting of the gentiles into the tree/branch of Israel. He nailed it. There is much more to say about these doctrines, but for now, what is important is the fact that I have been reminded nearly daily for almost a month now that I need to get back to my study, analysis, witness, and commitment to keep all of the laws — every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. At this meeting, it is difficult to imagine this specific message being more lucent (while the topic was broader, it is this component that ties to the experience, below). Naturally, I skipped the meal and headed home to pick up Joy and head out to “the farm.”
The Farm — Day 5
After arriving at about 4:30, briefly socializing with those who had arrived before, and while waiting for other families, Joy and I went back to the edge of the grove at the west side of the property to worship personally. We split up and I sat down in the grass amidst the small trees about 50 feet from the creek. Leaving out many details, here I felt as though I was surrounded by ministers from the other side of the veil. How I wish I could have seen. The conversation was varied, and due to my natural disposition for attention deficiency, nearly wasted. Nevertheless, two things were of particular significance. When I asked who it was that was speaking with me, I heard quite clearly, “Elohim.” Now, there are many intelligent follow-up questions that should have been asked at that point. I was not so wise. So, since you might wonder…, I don’t know. So sad.
What I asked instead is what I needed to do in order to see through the veil, and witness those who were before me. The answer was equally clear, “purify yourself… be obedient to all of my law.” See the connection? I was additionally told my name. I’m not sure if this is the name I went by before this life, a new name, or if those are the same. I was also given Joy’s name.
Joy then came to where I was (she had managed to sit on an ant hill and had ended up a bit distracted in her worship :-), and after telling her that she was not interfering, we continued together to pray and converse. I shared with her the names (all three; it wasn’t until Sunday evening that we discussed about the need to get back on task regarding understanding the law).
We returned to the group for a short worship service. After the children departed, As we sat around in a circle a general gospel discussion ensued, primarily focused around the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the gifts of the Spirit and more particularly healing. There were some sweet personal experiences shared. We were interrupted for the meal and enjoyed another wonderful pot luck meal with some additional fellow-shipping. The group splintered as they enjoyed a wide variety of conversations and topics that continued after the meal was complete.
Albeit presumptuous of me, I gathered the chairs into a circle and then went out and gathered everyone back together. I asked the farmer if we might say a prayer. I then got up and let the fellowship know that I was going to share with them sacred experiences I had enjoyed over the last two weeks. I knelt before them with Joy at my side. In much greater detail than recorded either previously or here, I recounted my pleading to be taught how to love and to forgive. I shared with them the experiences of being driven to burn my garments, subsequently feeling naked and exposed and praying for protection for myself, my family, and my home. I shared a more elaborate version of the experiences of the bubble of protection, being anointed, and being clothed with a robe of light. I then explained to them what I have learned about the character of Heavenly Father and how these things have answered the prayers to learn to love and to forgive. I outlined the connection between Heavenly Father’s meekness (I wish I had actually used that word) and His virtues, and the consequential power and authority and glory that are His. I outlined how that character/attitude dispels all anger, hatred, envy, strife, and all the other negative virtues.
Glory be to Him.
Note: As I have watched any number of people in any number of congregations seek for authority, positions of leadership, and influence (which in some cases caused the splintering of those very fellowships), I have prayed to not be so. Frankly, I’ve spent far too much of my life doing those very things. And yet, I do want to be able to testify of our Father, His Son, the Holy Ghost, the gospel, and share those experiences that have blessed my life in hopes that these might also bless others. Paradoxically, while trying to testify of the Father’s meekness and the blessings I have received by so patterning my life, it may well be that my assertiveness and style may have had the opposite affect and effect. I pray that isn’t the case. I’m grateful that He permits all kinds of imperfect vessels to assist in the work. I am humbled that He elected me to be one of those vessels, if only for a single moment. If I had simply heard these things from another, rather than having His Spirit burn intensely within me, I doubt that I would have the same desire to cry His praises from the housetops (or at least my porch).
Fast and Testimony Meeting — Day 6
Having a desire to share a few of the same things in our local congregation, the Lord finally gave me permission at the end of the meeting. I did not share the three experiences. I did talk about praying to be taught how to love and forgive, how I was taught about the character of the Father, how this impacted my ability to have faith in Him (references to Lectures on Faith), and how this had allowed me to forgive my mother, and changed my outlook on life.
Based upon my interpretation of body language during and after the meeting, along with the comments of several who stopped me in the hall, many, if not most, were ambivalent (or unable to comprehend?). Some few were actually offended. This, perhaps, because they are aware that our situation in the church is not what they feel is appropriate and no good messenger can come from Nazareth. A few expressed that they were profoundly moved. If only one, it is enough.
Closing Day 6 of the Fast
Returning home, Joy mentioned that she was also fasting. Never have leftovers tasted so good. :- )
The day concluded with hours of companionship with the Holy Ghost. Joy likened me to the farmer dancing in the movie Babe as I stood on our bedroom porch, arms lifted high, praising God. I think that I have finally experienced singing “the song of redeeming love.” Eventually, I felt I had to tell Him enough, I needed some sleep. That didn’t work so well, at least not until far into the night. Baruch HaShem!