Monday, April 23, 2012

Ridvan 2012, part 3

There is just so much to say about this message.

But first, I want to write a little bit about something that came up at our Ridvan celebration. My wife and I volunteered to organize all three Ridvan holy days in our community, the 1st, 9th and 12th. We chose as our theme roses. We decided to look at the first day in terms of roses and the individual. The 9th day will be about roses and the family, as well as relationships. The 12th day will be about roses, gardens and the community.

For the first day, I had a vague idea of what to share, but, as usual, allowed the spirit to take me where it would. I told a story about a man who loved roses, and wanted to grow them. He had a small cutting, and took great care of it, looking forward to the day when that beautiful flower would emerge. He watered it every day, gave it fertilizer, and kept it free from weeds and bugs. One day, as he was examining it, he noticed a bud that would soon blossom. In his excitement, he pricked his finger and began to bleed. "How", he wondered, "could such a thorny plant possibly produce a beautiful flower?" And with that thought, depression and sadness began to set in. He forgot to water it that day, and the next. Pretty soon it began to wilt. And that was when he realized what his neglect was doing. He soon began to water it again, and sure enough, a beautiful, fragrant rose blossomed, to his surprise and delight.

Baha'u'llah, I said, gave roses to all who visited the garden during that Ridvan time. And later, He gave the world the Baha'is. We are those roses that He gave to the world. And yes, we are beautiful and fragrant, and filled with thorns. There are times when we may look at each other and be concerned about bringing friends into the community, but that is only when we are seeing the thorns. We need, instead, to turn our eyes to the flower, and then the community will naturally grow.

This story was brought to mind again when I read this message. "To observe the Baha'i world at work", we are told, "is to behold a vista bright indeed." We are so fortunate to have this perspective from the World Centre, for quite often it seems as if we, in our own neighbourhood, are doing nothing. But that is just not the case. We are doing wonderful things, and it sometimes takes the World Centre to reflect that back to us.

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