Zion Flourishes

by Bishop Andrew Romer

Vol. 18 Number 1 Jan/Feb/Mar 2017 Issue 70

It can be difficult in the winter months, in the midst of cold and desolate surroundings, to remember that we serve a loving God, a God of abundance. Stepping from our warm homes into the bitterness, we are confronted with the reality that the world we live in can be a hostile and otherwise incompatible place with the joys of life. Images of snowflakes and sleigh rides,
of sledding and hot cocoa by the fireplace are, for a brief time, inviting, but soon, memories of the warmth of the sun on our face fill our minds and a longing to return to the days of spring
fill our soul. But no glimmer of thought, or memory, no matter how strong, is as powerful as the real thing, and those thoughts dissolve away as we are again confronted with the harshness that is winter. Then, time passes and harshness gives way to the life of spring. The flowers bloom in the fields, the leaves return to the trees, and the world around us is transformed into a landscape of hope and beauty. So to, as the winter months of our sinful world come to an end, the world around us will be transformed, and Zion shall flourish.

Unlike the changing of the seasons, a flourishing Zion will not happen on its own. It will only come to pass by the sacrifice and discipline of the saints. We have much to be hopeful for as a church. The seeds of the kingdom have been planted and are beginning to take root in the lives of our people. Each day we desire to step further and further down the path of righteousness, and each day we anticipate coming closer to the Zionic conditions that the spiritual condition of a righteous people would justify. Indeed, Zion shall flourish as her people put on their beautiful garments, and as we are transformed, the beauty and warmth that is Zion will unfold before us. We must be steadfast in the work we have been called to, and every saint has their purpose and a role to play. We each, individually as well as collectively, must come out of Babylon and reject the sins that separate us from God. The continuing work necessary to prepare a righteous people was the subject of the February Aaronic Priesthood Assembly.

In the days of old the sons of Aaron were tasked with the care of the tabernacle. The sons of Aaron, this day, are tasked with the care of the saints of the Most High God. We are each on an individual journey of sanctification and it is the duty of every man in the Aaronic priesthood to guide the saints along that path just as they were the guides through the sanctification process represented in the tabernacle. Today, the call is clear, and the command is given. The offering in righteousness spoken of in Malachi 3:3 is a righteous and sanctified Bride, fully adorned in her wedding garments, worthy of the Son of God. The role of the Aaronic priesthood must be understood fully, and the ministry they are charged with bringing must be deeply
entrenched into the daily lives of our saints. The Aaronic Moments was the beginning of such endeavors, and many more opportunities to magnify the calls of our Aaronic priesthood are
at hand. The powerful ministry of the Aaronic priesthood intertwined in the daily lives of our people is a vital condition of a flourishing Zion.

If one were to further evaluate the conditions necessary for a flourishing Zion, they might include a dedicated people consecrated to the greater purposes God intended for his church. Or perhaps a community of believers learning to live together in righteous fellowship. We may even picture those saints worshiping together in a temple where the presence of God reigns in his glory, where the windows of heaven have been opened, and the blessings, both temporally and spiritually, have been poured out in abundance such that there is not room enough to receive them.

In evaluating those conditions, we may recognize that as a body we are already walking down that path. More members of The Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have consecrated their lives to the work than at any other time in the history of the Latter Day movement. A community of saints has been gathered together as "...a demonstration that man can live together in peace and harmony with his neighbor, exercising stewardships, utilizing inheritances, and not being uduly influenced by Babylon" (D&C 150:6a). The hope of the saints worshiping together in the temple is no longer a distant thought of a future that might be, but can be a real and tangible possibility within our lifetime. In that way, Zion is already flourishing.Our call today is to continue to prepare, recognizing that with each step, Zion flourishes just a little bit more. The time is short, and as the Lord told us in D&C 154:4b, "...as surely as you understand time, time shall come to an end and it is for you to speedily be about building my earthly kingdom."