Tuesday, January 4, 2011

28 December 2010 - Take 7 (I think)

I really love the way the Universal House of Justice speaks to us. They presume that we know things that we are often wondering about at the moment. At least, that's how I feel when I read these messages.

For example, in paragraph 3 they mention the word "cluster", and then proceed to give us a quick definition, just in case we forgot what it was in the past decade. (A cluster is "a geographical construct intended to facilitate thinking about the growth of the Faith", just in case you wanted to know, and couldn't remember.) (Like me.)

From here, they proceed to give us a "brief review of the process that unfolds in a cluster", even though it is "well familiar to you all". Thanks for the vote of confidence, and thank you even more for the review.

When we look at paragraph four (or, at least, when I look at paragraph four), we see a single outline of how a cluster may move from having no Baha'is to having an intensive program of growth, with coherence among all the core activities. In other words, we see how to get from where we are to where we want to be, while recognizing all the while that this process is "organic", and will look differently in each cluster. No matter how we may start, the end is always the same. We will see a number of core activities, all being supported by the people going through the institute courses.

But then we have to be realistic: the point at which the above is happening is only the beginning. It is but "the first of several milestones". No time for sitting on our laurels, as the saying goes. (But can we at least catch our breath? Probably not.)

In paragraph five, they begin to show us what is needed from the institutions, especially that of the Learned. They need to exercise agility, encouraging the friends in their service, guiding them when necessary, and keeping in mind the broad picture. And all of this while working with the friends in the field.

And there, in the last half of that paragraph (number five), is the recipe-type series of statements that I missed the first few times through. There they are, those if - then sort of hints about our work.

What do I mean?

If we want to elicit wholehearted participation, then faith in people's capacity is essential. And please note the emphasis with which I read it, which is only my own emphasis. I may be reading too much into it, but hey, it's my read. Faith in people's capacity is not just a good idea, it is essential. Without it, it ain't gonna happen.

Do we want to "help turn hesitation into courage", and ""transform a yearning for excitement into a commitment to long-term action"? Then unqualified love is indispensable. Again, it's not just something that is nice to have. We can't do it without it. It is indispensable.

Do we want to "demonstrate how stumbling blocks can be made stepping stones for progress"? Well then, calm determination is vital. It is necessary. Without that calm determination, we will not be able to demonstrate that, for we will be frustrated, instead, which is not a good place to try and share from.

Do we want to help identify those obstacles that may be preventing a few of the friends from "appreciating the imperative of unified action"? A "readiness to listen, with heightened spiritual perception," is invaluable to doing this.

These imperative terms usually stand out to me, but for some reason, I missed them the first few times.

I can't wait to see what else is contained within this incredible letter. I'm sure I'll learn much more as I continue to work in the field of service.

For now, I have to work on leaving my computer so that my wife can do some of her own service.

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