You remember how Alma lived a sad and hopeful and happy life? Well in the process he gained a lot of ideas about life. And they weren’t just his ideas. They were ideas he learned from his father. And they were ideas he learned from an angel. And they were ideas he learned from God. And God told Alma that the people needed to know a few of those things he had learned from life.   

And so this is the point in the story when Alma put on his best walking sandals and took off to teach people about life. He taught that life is like a book. Like this book. And it is like a book because it has an author. And the author is God. And the story is an adventure story. It is a story about people who are tied up in prison, strung together with chains, burned with dragon flames, and feeling just generally sad. It is a story about the hero who saves them. 

And that hero’s name is Jesus. And Jesus comes and rescues them all. But that is not the end of the story. Because after Jesus has saved everyone, the people are so grateful they say, “Jesus, you have been so good to us. What can we do for you in return?” He only grins and tells them to take care of one another.  

This was no simple request. It was hard enough to take care of themselves. To find their own food, clean their own room, do their own laundry. There was hardly time to take care of someone else. They tried and tried and tried but could never take care of everyone. There were so many people. 

There were some nice people who were lucky. And some lucky people who were not very nice. And there were both nice and not-so-nice-people who had really really crummy luck. It was impossible to sort everything out or know who deserved what. There were always winners and always losers and no one could take care of everyone. Not even everyone could take care of everyone. 

And so the people were sad. All Jesus wanted them to do was take care of each other. And they couldn’t even do that. Some of them wished they were back in prison because Jesus was making them all feel like criminals. And they were getting tired of trying and trying and failing and failing. It was miserable. And some of them said, “we are criminals. We are the worst of criminals.” They felt like murderers. And that is a very bad feeling. No one wants to be a murderer.  

Some of the people complained and said that Jesus was wrong. That they could not be responsible for everyone else because they were not capable to take on that kind of responsibility. And so it could not be true. So they said, “We are only responsible for ourselves. Everyone will do what they feel is right. And we will finally be happy.” But here’s the problem. They were not the author of the book. So they didn’t get to decide what was real and what was not. God was the author. And whatever he said was going to happen was going to happen. That is to say, his words would be fulfilled.  And he agreed with Jesus. 

And so it was true that they were responsible for each other. But it was also true that they were not capable of fulfilling of that responsibility. They were like children trying to cook a gourmet dinner. They needed help. And that’s when they realized, they needed the hero again. And they needed him to come and live with them. There was too much to be done to have the hero come and go and come and go. They needed a full-time hero. So they invited him back. And they said, “We understand that we are supposed to take care of everyone. But we also know that we cannot. Please help us.” And Jesus smiled and lived with them.  And they worked together to build a place where everyone was taken care of. And they were going to call it Zion. Because Zion is a small word with a big meaning.

Zion a definition

Zion is like a zoo. Except there are no cages. Because even the animals get along. The lions are playing with the baby sheep. The children are holding snakes. And I don’t know if the roses will have thorns or not. If they do, and you get pricked, there will certainly be a band-aid for you. Because Zion is a place of joy where everyone has what they need. They have animals to play with, band-aids when you get hurt, and mothers and fathers to hold you and your friends and put you to sleep. And when you wake up, you wake up to God.


All artwork by Lauren Blair.

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