Tuesday, December 28, 2010

28 December 2010 - Take 1

December 28th, 9:30 pm. I have just finished my first read of this Message, gasped at the number 5000, and been lifted up to such wonderful heights by the vision of the Universal House of Justice. There is so much I want to write, but I know that I need to go over this message again. And again. And again.

I have no doubt that what I want to say will shift and change as I really sit down and study it.

But my first thought, dear Reader, was of you. I wanted to encourage you to read this message as soon as you can, and study it with as many of the friends as you can. Read it section by section, and all the while look how to apply it. I'm sure you will, but I wanted to make sure to throw in a word of encouragement, just in case it takes that little extra nudge.

After my own first quick read of this letter, one thing in particular really stands out to me. It is found on page 14, or paragraph 37. I'm sure that in the next few days, and probably even weeks, I'll look at lot more closely at this letter, as we all will, but for now, I want to make a few notes on this one paragraph, as it will influence how I study the rest.

This is the one that talks about the importance of seeing things in a holistic manner, and not looking at only a single piece in isolation. (Isn't it funny that I'm looking at this section in isolation? I can just hear the irony dripping.)

The particular paragraph that I want to look at is as follows:
It is heartening to note that the friends are approaching the study of the messages of the Universal House of Justice related to the Plan with such diligence. The level of discussion generated as they strive to put into practice the guidance received, and to learn from experience, is impressive. We cannot help noticing, however, that achievements tend to be more enduring in those regions where the friends strive to understand the totality of the vision conveyed in the messages, while difficulties often arise when phrases and sentences are taken out of context and viewed as isolated fragments. The institutions and agencies of the Faith should help the believers to analyse but not reduce, to ponder meaning but not dwell on words, to identify distinct areas of action but not compartmentalize. We realize that this is no small task. Society speaks more and more in slogans. We hope that the habits the friends are forming in study circles to work with full and complex thoughts and to achieve understanding will be extended to various spheres of activity.
To me, this speaks of the reason why I often study these messages in their entirety, and take my time looking at each paragraph separately and then consecutively.

Here, in this paragraph, they begin by telling us that our approach to the study of these messages is "heartening". I know that this is not the only blog that you will find on the internet looking at this message, and that there are probably numerous studies happening in your very own community. This is so encouraging to me, too, knowing that I'm not alone looking at all this. I'm in good company.

Then, right after that, they point to our desire to put into action what we learn. Knowledge in action! Oh, my heart sings at this.

Then, as if that is not enough, they praise our desire to learn from this experience we have gained.

It is so encouraging to know that we are on the right track. It is so uplifting to know that what we are doing is good. Thank you, beloved Universal House of Justice, thank you.

But, of course, there is a caution, too. We should look at the message in its entirety, and not try to pick out a few catchphrases.

Analyze it. Ponder its meaning. Identify lines of action. How much more simple can it be? While it is not easy, it is simple. In other words, the process is not that complex.

And this, dear Reader, will be my model for the next little while as I study this message, both on my own and in groups. It will also influence how and what I put down here.

I just wanted that on the record.

Oh, and thanks for sending any thoughts you have about this message, too. I look forward to reading what you have discovered as I embark on my own discovery.

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