Friday, July 17, 2009

The Last Shall Be First

I had very striking dream last night. There was a great gathering of humanity in a ruined city. At first I thought it was San Francisco because there were so many hills, but gradually I realized it was Minneapolis. The landscape had been rearranged by great upheavals of earth! The great skyscrapers -- all the "great and spacious buildings" -- had toppled. All "modern conveniences" -- automobiles, trains, planes, cell phones -- were all gone. But people had started to rebuild on the ruins. There were parts of the landscape that had been reclaimed for community gardens. The earth was in its "paradisaical glory," the sun was shining, the skies were blue, the weather was just perfect for human habitation. People were genuinely happy. There was singing, celebrating. People were gathering in great circles to play frisbee! The main forms of entertainment were (not video games, but) people just coming together to be with each other. As I made my way through the ruined and slowly-being-rebuilt city, there were many joyous reunions. But most of the skin tones I noticed were not white. There were a few white folks but not many.

I had a most remarkable feeling when I woke up; very peaceful, very happy. I was blessed with the sense that if we put our trust in God, all will eventually be well and work out exactly the way it is supposed to. But as a result of the dream, there was also a most remarkable thought forming in my mind.

It was that I do not believe as Christians we generally fully appreciate the import of Jesus' words: "And the first shall be last and the last first." In the Kingdom of God, it will be the people we never pay attention to who will be saved; the homeless guy we pass on the way to work that we refused to give a dollar. The people who are "self-sufficient," who "need nothing," may not have a big role to play in that kingdom.

But there is no need to despair. To obtain a stake in God's kingdom is so very simple. All we have to do is give up everything we have and completely rearrange our priorities so that they are the opposite of the culture we live in!

All we have to do is learn to live the law of consecration!

16 comments:

Bravone said...

And work on our tans! I enjoyed your thoughts. Thanks!

El Genio said...

Wait... no video games?? :(

bill mca said...

Your dreams are always so much more profound than mine. I dreamt about a red snake last night....

J G-W said...

Bravone - Working on our tans can't hurt! I got a good start on mine in Utah last week... :)

El Genio - I'm sure you will still be able to pay an occasional visit to Hell if you want to play Grand Theft Auto.

Bill - A red snake could be good. :)

Bravone said...

How dark does my skin tone need to be? I may need to head for the paint booth!

Creole Wisdom said...

Hi,

I read your post on Rueben Collins' blog and clicked on your link.

Your story is amazing. I would love to learn more about your experiences with the LDS faith- if you are interested.

I have a story, too. I joined the church in 2007 at 20 and left a year and a half later. Over the Church's history with race issues. I have shared some of my story on my blog, which you can find through my profile link.

Anyway, I am thankful I found your blog!

Blessings,
Katherine

bill mca said...

Please enlighten me about what a red snake could mean....

(I hope it's hot)

J G-W said...

Well, of course a lot depends on what the snake was doing. Was it attacking you? Was it slithering away? Was it just sitting there in the grass looking up at you? A lot also depends on what you were doing or feeling in relation to the snake. Were you afraid of it? Did you find it beautiful? Were you chasing it away? Trying to capture it? Running away from it?

Ordinarily, all things being equal, a red snake is usually a very powerful dream symbol. Serpents typically symbolize life energy, life force or life processes. The color red is related to vitality and strength.

Red could also be a warning (like a red light), which is how I'd interpret it if the snake was poised to strike you, for instance, or if it had just bitten you.

Like I said, a red snake could be really good..!

bill mca said...

In my dream I had just removed an old piece of wood which was covering a basement window well. When I got down on all fours and looked inside the well the red snake was in there and started to slither under me, out of the well. I was definitely afraid of it and quickly woke myself up.

J G-W said...

Basements usually represent the subconscious. You can figure out the rest. That's actually a very cool dream!

Carrie Rice said...

And, after all, that's what Jesus would do.

Jacob Sladder said...

I love this. Thanks you for sharing. Very inspiring

Bravone said...

John, it's been a while. Everything okay?

J G-W said...

Bravone -- It has been a while! Everything is fine, thanks... All good things that have been keeping me away from blogging... In addition to good family stuff like vacations in Utah and then Memphis, I am putting most of my writing energy into the completion of the second draft of a new book, which I have a goal of having ready to send to an editor by the end of August. But don't worry, I'll be back soon enough.

Maraiya said...

I loved this. I think the LDS community often fails to embrace those whom Jesus often told us to in His parables; I think of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. It's so easy to get wrapped up in people who are just like you and follow certain conventions that if we are not actively seeking, we will forget those who need us most. Pres. Monson's talks on service and loving the weakest among us have been quite moving.

J G-W said...

Maraiya, thanks!

Yes, I have appreciated those messages from President Monson as well...