Sunday, December 20, 2009

Omni - Chapter 1

It sounds like despite declarations of personal wickedness, these men maintained a belief and affiliation with the truth.  It is so sad to hear them describe how they spent their lives fighting their enemies.  They were stuck depending upon the arm of the flesh to accomplish what they'd forgotten God could do for them.  From my own experience it seems like they felt a sense of entitlement.  They felt they deserved freedom and all of it's trappings.  I think we are much the same way.  Most of us are willing to defend rights we think we deserve.  There is lies the rub.  In all reality we do not deserve anything.  The notion that we are entitled to something leads to expectation, which leads to disappointment, which leads to justification which leads to destruction.  Like the Nephites of old we seek to control our outcomes rather then entrusting them to the Lord.

This make's Amalaki's wonderful statement even more poignant and inspiring.
 26 And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.
 He appears to have discovered that salvation, and I think even temporal salvation, come in no other way.  He seems for have discovered that life is not about gaining control, but rather offering control to God.

Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen describes a daily Buddhist ritual that entails filling a bowl with water.  The water represents our lives - the good as well as the bad.  As the bowl is filling the worshiper receives her life with gratitude.  Next the filled bowl is carefully carried and placed upon an alter at which point the person consecrates her life, in it's imperfect entirety, to God.  I practiced this ritual for some time and found it very instructive and very useful in applying Amalaki's admonition that we offer our whole souls unto God.  I shall never forget the day when, as I approached the bookshelf that served as my alter I remembered having told a lie to a good friend.  My next thought turned to the scripture that advises -
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; “Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matt. 5:23–24).
 I couldn't put the bowl in it's place.  I tried to justify or rationalize but realized that this is the sort of thing Amaleki was speaking of.  I went and did my reconciliation and then was able to make my offering.  I'm not suggesting we all go out and get ourselves a bowl.  But I am suggesting that we take this admonition that seriously and deliberately offer our whole souls unto God.

How would the accounts in Omni have been different if Amaleki's predecessors understood this great principle.


di said...

That seems like a lovely ritual.

Being reconciled before we come unto God, always seems a little backward to me... it feels a lttle like putting the cart before the horse. I wonder sometimes if it is more about...not asking God to take sides...

thoughts on this chapter...

not a lot...

This chapter covers 4 generations of family…records are so important. Every little morsel that is revealed her helps put together the jigsaw puzzle of their very existence.

D1Warbler said...

Our "bowl" is actually the Sacrament. Too bad we can't partake of it daily. (Of course, we can -- in our hearts -- as we repent each day, but outward symbols, such as the Buddhist bowl, seem to remind us better!)

Candleman said...

I practiced that little ritual for about two years and found it very helpful in focussing on what's most important in my life and also in helping me be more grateful.

A couple of things I'm not doing so well at lately, maybe I'll start up again.