Thursday, May 20, 2004

Alma 36:8-10

"But behold, the voice said unto me: Arise. And I arose and stood up, and beheld the angel.
And he said unto me: If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God.
And it came to pass that I fell to the earth; and it was for the space of three days and three nights that I could not open my mouth, neither had I the use of my limbs."
Alma 36:8-10

This is interesting... the words, "if thou wilt of thyself be destroyed" have a huge impact on Alma.  After he heard them, he wasn't listening to any of the rest of it... he was consumed with worry about his life and whether he was really going to be destroyed.  I was talking with the students in my Ethics class the other day, and talking about how the media tries to get us to buy things we don't need, and we keep different industries going even though we should be moving on to more ecologically sound solutions... things like that.  So, I asked them what we could do about it, if we all believed that we needed a change.   The answer that they gave me was that we can do nothing. ... that for the world to actually change, some disaster would have to happen.   To actually stop using fossil fuels, we'd have to actually run out of them... things like that.
Anyway, so I think that Alma had his disaster right here. He chose a path, and continued along it until something forced him to evaluate what he was doing, and consider whether he wanted to live with the consequences. ... I used to think of this as a great conversion experience, but now it seems like a pretty scary one.  Do we all have to have a disaster in our lives in order to turn to God?  We choose our paths and walk along them, but what is it that makes us wake up and take the gospel seriously?  It isn't God that is forcing us to learn the hard way... it's us.  We ignore the polite reminders, and fail to take advantage of the ways that we can get ourselves back on track... prayer, scripture study, church, the sacrament... and instead we wait for the disaster.  Why is that?  It is easier to rebuild ourselves after a meltdown than to change who we are now?   More painful, assuredly, but maybe that is the only way we find the motivation...?
Today, let's try to make some changes without the disaster. :)  Let's prove it can be done.

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