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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Road to Jerusalem

by Bradly Baird (bio)

Jerusalem by Night

When the Spirit of Promise confirms a divinely appointed commission, those in receipt of the blessing are expected to act in accordance with carefully inspired parameters and to fulfill the prescribed mission with the utmost effort and feeling. Sometimes a commission begins with a gentle prompting, while at other times the commission arrives in a more ceremonious or formal manner. Either way, the errand is always relevant to the life of the individual who is called upon and requires sacrifice.

As I observe members of the Kingdom accepting these commissions on a daily basis, I am reminded of a statement by President Hinckley. He was once asked to described the symbol that represents our Church - as the cross represents many Christian denominations - and he responded very eloquently that the symbol of our Church was evidenced by the sacrifices manifested in the lives of its people. I believe this because I see it everyday inside our faith and am quite convinced that - apart from the Atonement of Jesus Christ - our own sacrifices will be the things that open the gates of heaven for each one of us.

In 1840, Orson Hyde received a commission that became one of his legacies to the Kingdom of God. In his diary, he states that, "in the early part of March, 1840, I retired to my bed one night as usual; and while meditating and contemplating the field of my future labors, the vision of the Lord, like clouds of light, burst into my view. The cities of London, Amsterdam, Constantinople and Jerusalem, all appeared in succession before me, and the Spirit said unto me, ‘Here are many of the children of Abraham whom I will gather to the land that I gave to their fathers; and here also is the field of your labors. The vision continued open about six hours, that I did not close my eyes in sleep. In this time many things were shown unto me which I have never written; neither shall I write them until they are fulfilled in Jerusalem."

A month after this great revelation, he was called during the April conference of the Church to fulfill a mission “to the Jews.” Once there, he documented the specifics of his commission, which included the commandment to dedicate the land of Israel: “On Sunday morning, October 24, 1841, a good while before day, I arose from sleep, and went out of the city as soon as the gates were opened, crossed the brook Kedron, and went upon the Mount of Olives, and there, in solemn silence, with pen, ink, and paper, just as I saw in the vision, offered up the following prayer to Him who lives forever and ever."

This story from Brother Hyde's life always touches me and fills me with a strong sense of urgency about my own "Jerusalem" and what my own life's work in the Kingdom is/will be. Each time I read it, I wonder whether I have been proactive enough in seeking out the Lord's will for me. Have I done enough to understand who I am, what unique abilities I possess, and what the Lord has set aside for me, or have been I complacent and just waited for the Lord to call me into action?

I do not know exactly how the Lord would answer, but I do know that I can always do more. I can always reach farther and lengthen my stride just a little bit further each day of my life. And so I resolve to more actively find the road to my Jerusalem and to be more committed to my life's work within the Kingdom. I doubt that the answers and commissions will be as spectacular as those of Orson Hyde, but I do know that whatever comes from more actively knocking at the door will be of eternal consequence to me. I just hope that I can rise to meet the challenge presented.

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