Thursday, May 14, 2015

"Guardians of an Altar" (For the Strength of the Hills, Hymn 35)

The past few weeks have not been easy for me. It seemed as though the heavens were brass, and my pleadings were doomed to deflection back to earth. I would speak, and silence would remain. The contact lack was so difficult and prevalent, even the scriptures couldn't help, and I still felt very disconnected from the eternal world.

Then, after many days, a thought came into my head, "We are watchers of a beacon Whose light must never die; We are guardians of an altar 'Midst the silence of the sky" (For the Strength of the Hills). With that thought, revelation began to flow more freely. I pondered on those lines again and again.

I'm sure I allowed myself to become a little more distant from heaven, through complacency. However, I'm sure also that revelation stops for other reasons to each one of us, through no fault of our own, because the Lord needs us to learn about ourselves. On the way to the top of the mount, there was no indication that Abraham was getting any revelation until he came to the altar to sacrifice Isaac. He would not have learned how deep his loyalty to God was until he was asked to do the very thing God saved him from many years earlier.

Regardless the reason, during those times when heaven seems silent, we continue forward, we remain guardians of the altars. The temples center on altars in making covenants. The chapel has an altar where the emblems of the sacrament are placed weekly as an ordinance to renew our covenants with God. Each altar encompasses our sacrifices to God through our covenants. What does keeping our covenants give Him? As C.S. Lewis masterfully put it, "Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self---in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart."

Covenants do just that, so in times of silence and in times of revelation: keep on keeping your covenants.