On August 3, 2004, while residing in off-campus housing in Provo, Utah, preparing for a new semester of law school ― on that hot Tuesday afternoon, as I was fasting and praying in my bedroom, the voice of God called me by name and blessed me.
I recorded the words He spake, all 876 of them. It feels weird sharing this, but the Lord commissioned me at that time to "teach my word unto my children and bring them unto me through faith and repentance on my name, unto the striking down of unbelief, false tradition, and pride."
You may recall something the Lord told Hyrum Smith in 1829:
Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.
So I spent the next decade and a half preparing: studying the scriptures, searching Christ's words, pondering the celestial laws undergirding Zion, and longing for the redemption of the daughters of Jerusalem.
All this while life went on as it has for millennia; I married, became a father, passed the bar, applied for jobs, and gained weight.
All very ordinary.
I learned one of the hardest things to do in life is to do "nothing." The old Protestant work ethic, I guess, makes waiting upon the Lord feel like shirking. "Where are all those wheels needing shoulders to press along?"
I remember driving to work some mornings feeling like I might burst, wanting to rush to the front lines with my spiritual bayonet and charge the cannon fire. But this verse stuck in my mind:
Let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.
So it was, on September 2, 2018, some 16 years later, that the voice of the Lord came again.
On a Sunday afternoon with the house to myself, I relished the peace and quiet and knelt in prayer and heard the voice the Lord.
It was go-time.
My mission: to point to Christ as He points to the Father. Nor would I serve alone; I was told many others were called so that His words might reach every part of the vineyard.
I share this because it relates to the Parable of the Wheat and Tares.
Among the 975 words the Lord spoke that day was, "Sing unto the East and to the West; let your voice be heard near and afar; time is hastening and the field is ready to be reaped."
Notice He did not say the field was "ripe." This time, the Lord indicated the field was "ready to be reaped."
And remember what the "reapers" do in the Parable of the Tares? The Lord told His disciples:
The harvest is the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked. The reapers are the angels, or the messengers sent of heaven. As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world.
(Matthew 13:39-41, JST)
But how? How was I supposed to raise my voice among the chorus, both "near" and "afar"?
For those of who have read my post "Reflection," you'll know what happened. Ten days later, on September 12, 2018, the idea for Owl of the Desert began to take shape.
I put the Lord's words into poetry, and then in May 2020 I began writing this blog.
I was singing!
And my song was always of Christ's redeeming love (and the corollary of what quenches it: hierarchy, priestcraft, idolatry, status, authority and hypocrisy).
It was in the spirit of grief and mourning, over what had become of the Lord's people, that I wrote the lament, The Orchard.
And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?