In fact, in this Series we're seeing not just a pattern but a portrait of a prophet's calling emerge.
So far we've looked at (1) Samuel, (2) Amos, and (3) Elijah.
Elijah has a special place in my heart:
1. Joseph Smith said Elijah was the last Old Testament prophet to hold the sealing powers of the Priesthood. (History of the Church, 4:211; 6:251–52).
2. Elijah is the closest prophet I can think of to Gandalf the Grey. "And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there" (1 Kings 18:40). "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!"
3. My dad published a book on Elijah and really loves to do family history.
"Will You Accept a Collect Call from God?"
I shared a little bit of my own personal "calling" nearly two years ago, when the voice of the Lord came to me in my Zeezrom-like foolishness, which I wrote about in the blogpost, Reflection, back on August 7, 2020.
What I didn't tell you was how the Lord asked me to put into poetry (I know, how crazy?) the truths which the Spirit spoke to me, and I felt that was a gentle way to say some hard things.
And so Owl of the Desert was born, which is a phrase I lifted from the book of Psalms. I didn't know back then how to blog, or how to make a website, but I googled how to do new things and here we are.
I published my poems for my family and friends and left the rest in the Lord's hands. But primarily, I was writing for the Lord and his angels (who can always use a good laugh).
You see, what I write on this blog is mine, and I take responsibility for its imperfections, as Moroni said; these words could have been my own:
Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been. And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge.
But the poems? You will have take those up with the Lord, for what I have written in them is by the power of his Spirit; and the words are not mine but those he placed in me like fire shut up in my bones.
The poems, you see, are his.
And if you've read any of them, you've probably noticed the Lord is not well pleased with us.
In the poem, Elijah, I borrowed imagery from Elijah's day to speak to our own.
Here we go . . .
Flies swarm an ass’s head selling for thirty pieces of silver in Samaria. Its eyes stare blankly upward as whispered voices in the wind are heard: When will this famine end?
Desert truths lie threadbare on the loom for moths to eat, their abandoned skins shed like old garments. Wretches satisfy hunger grinding stone into lepers’ bread.
Sandy tombstones testify against those who consume the ripe wheat, spreading chaff over the cremains of the poor. In the shroud of authority priests shake cinder dust from their feet.
Then a message out of Gilead! To Ahab, King of Israel, from the mad Tishbite: You reposed trust in a priesthood sown with sterile seed and tithed Zarepheth’s oil in God’s name. The clouds shall hide their faces in spite because you acknowledged not your shame.
Two measures of barley sold for a shekel in Samaria’s gate. Who dares dissent from lords that cause Jordan to run dry and slake thirst with water drawn from the Dead Sea? Who will enter their bathhouses filled with fresh figs and call them to repent? Where are the seven thousand prophets who have not practiced priestcraft, their mouths pure of mammon’s wine, who are fed with manna carried in ravens’ beak?
O Nineveh! See how high the hedge has grown round the shining crematorium on the hill radiating a form of godliness, a scorpion’s kiss. We are drunkards who think themselves sober still. How did it come to this?
A graveyard for Abraham’s children cut from angels’ tongue, we craft coffins for God’s mysteries. No more hobby horses of fire! No more chariots rising up on eagle’s wings! We walk single file toward Assyria in mass lobotomy of all that transpired prior to Nineteen Seventy.
Murmurs heard from Samaria’s wall: Boil thy son so we may eat. And so has the great and dreadful day come at last Elijah? Will you return to pour twelve barrels of water onto this barrenness? Will faith be made new by rolling waters that gush from the rock altar of our heart and spill forth holy fire to crush the desert snake opening to swallow our agency (or do they not know water runs until dammed at the end of the row)?
His body claimed by the whirlwind. What did he hear in the still small voice? Listen at the end of the world to the oven speak its final word aflame the stubble and forbidden fruit. Shout it among the wicked, Ahaziah: your father left neither branch nor root!
Do not worry: the dead do not murmur heaven’s secrets. Elijah is gone. His mantle has fallen to the ground and someone must pick it up and bear it anew to Carmel’s mount.