31 July 2011

Finding God of a Sunday

My fathers of old were Jewish.  Of course, because those Jewish fathers ended up marrying women who were not Jews, I suppose that means that I am not a Jew in a lineal way.  I certainly have a Jewish heritage and I have been told it comes out to play occasionally.  One can feel all one wants about parents and grandparents as far as honor and gratitude, but that heritage will always be there, buried somewhere in the genes, ready to pop out at an often inconvenient time.

As a Mormon by choice, I have made covenants with God.  In my studies, the covenants are the same as the ones that Abraham, Issac, and Jacob made, so though any number of Jews would point out my loss of Jewishness some generations ago, I and my family continue to be children of Abraham (can't take away your genealogy) and continue to make covenants with God just like our fathers of old.

That is why the offer of my Christian friends seems like a big let-down.

I know their words of salvation are heart-felt.  They authentically think that following their particular flavor of Christianity is the only way to God and that all other possibilities are a quick road to damnation.  Of course, what makes the words and rites of one Christian denomination better than any other, it all being devoid of authoritative covenants with God?  They come to my door occasionally, preaching strings of scriptures that lead to different conclusions and commandments.  They say my covenants are nothing, that their particular incantations and/or confessions are all that there is and all there can ever be.  For some groups, it seems that behavior is meaningless, where among others, behavior is everything.  There are even differences in what day of the week is appropriate to do special devotions.  It seems Christendom is rather rudderless, bobbing along aimlessly with no hope of arriving anywhere but at some random shore if it makes landfall at all.  I surely think that God would have a better plan and an actual course that leads to a specific destination.  If Christians could get to heaven through sheer bible-thumping alone, it would be done, if only they had any concept of where heaven was or even in what direction it lay.

So, they come to one of the covenant people and tell me how deluded I am and that the saying of a phrase or singing a hymn or reading a certain "chain" of scripture will "save" me from some terrible fate.  Apparently, the covenant between God and Abraham is lost to Christians and cannot be of any effect any longer for anyone in their eyes.  When I tell them of the covenants that I have made, like the covenants of Abraham, they dismiss them without much thought at all.  In their confusion concerning the right thing to do to follow Christ back to God, they can agree at least on something:  A practicing Mormon and an observant Jew cannot be saved.  To them, I must be doubly-cursed, and no wonder they spend time trying to help me!

I really have to say here that I like my good Christian neighbors.  They are fine people.  I am glad for their beliefs in being and doing good to their neighbors, being upstanding citizens, not lying, cheating, stealing, or murdering.  I wish there were more of them, just like I wish there were more observant Muslims, Buddhists, and other practicing believers in any higher power - they just seem to be more pleasant people to be around!

Yet, I will trust to the covenants that I have made, both as a child of Abraham and as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I have faith that my ancient fathers were "saved" through the Messiah as God promised in the Bible and that I can be "saved" as well by following the Messiah and abiding those long-standing promises.  As a Mormon, I have made those covenants again, standing upon my own legs (upon the shoulders of my righteous ancestors) and seeking a greater weight of blessings from God.

With happiness, I proclaim that the Messiah has come and will come again.  He is called Jesus Christ and he marked the path and made the way possible so that his siblings (us) can return to God, our Father.  Abraham and Issac and Jacob looked forward to his coming and taught that forward-looking to their children.  In like manner, I look forward now to his second coming and teach my children to do likewise.  I teach them the covenants that our forefathers and I have made with God and encourage them to make those covenants as well and live their lives according to them.

So, when my well-meaning neighbors come to "save" me, I hope they are not too offended when I cling to my and my ancestors' covenants with God and refuse to set them aside.  When I have had spiritual feasts from my obedience and resolve, why would I choose to set that aside to eat the scraps that Christians insist is the best that God is willing to give?  I am often called stupid of foolish, but I am smart enough to recognize a practical famine after I have had the full buffet!

I invite my Christian friends to claim covenants that Christ himself offers to you.  You can receive the bounteous blessings and opportunities that God wants to give you, far beyond the dreams of Christendom.  You can visit http://www.mormon.org and learn more about your potential as a literal child of God!