Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ridvan 2013 Message, Part 1

Well, it's that time of year again. Ridvan. The Most Great Festival. And yes, I know, it was actually a few weeks ago. Sorry. I was busy with a few other things. I mean, I wasn't too busy to celebrate. I was just too busy to write much here. And besides, I only got a copy of this message a couple of days ago.

But what a message it is.

(And I was so excited to here about Mr Birkland being elected to the Universal House of Justice. First Mr Lample, and now Mr Birkland.)

Anyways, as much as I would love to look at the whole letter right now, it is getting late here, and I'm about to fall asleep. So, what to do? Simple. Look at the first paragraph and pretend that 's what I intended to do all along. Well, here it is:
"The Book of God is wide open, and His Word is summoning mankind unto Him." In such exhilarating terms does the Supreme Pen describe the advent of the day of union and ingathering. Baha'u'llah continues: "Incline your ears, O friends of God, to the voice of Him Whom the world hath wronged, and hold fast unto whatsoever will exalt His Cause." He further exhorts His followers: "With the utmost friendliness and in a spirit of perfect fellowship take ye counsel together, and dedicate the precious days of your lives to the betterment of the world and the promotion of the Cause of Him Who is the Ancient and Sovereign Lord of all."

Now, what to say about it.

Hmmm. Let me think.

(Give me sec. My brain is moving slowly tonight.)

Ok. Got it. I have an idea.

They use 3 quotes, and I'm curious why. Why those three? As usual, I don't think that anything in this message is an accident. I think that everything, every phrase, every word, every comma, is there for a reason. Out of all the quotes they could have selected for beginning this message, why those three?

The first quote brings us right to the Word of God. At long last the Book of God is open. The seal has been broken and we can all read it for ourselves now. The Prophet Daniel would be so jealous right now, if He were capable of jealousy. And this Word is not a static thing. It is not just sitting there on the pages waiting for us to read it. No. It is active. It is actually summoning us. All of us.

That, to me, is part of the significance of this quote. Turn to the Word of God and you will find it summoning us.

This second quote seems to take it a step further. Not only are we to incline our ears to the Word, but we are also to act in such a way that we will help exalt His Cause. Of course, it is not we who exalt the Cause, but our actions, our morals, our every effort at striving to live up to the standard set in the teachings conduce to its exaltation.

And then, in that third quote, they direct our attention to a particular action we should do: "take counsel together". This, to me (remember, this blog is all about my own personal view of the Writings, and is nothing official), is what the majority of the message is about, our taking counsel together, whether in small groups of individuals, in reflection gatherings held at the level of the cluster, or at the national level. And you will note, having already studied this message, that this is something of an outline of the entire message, from its initial summary of where we are as a global community, to its focus on clusters, and even to the mention of the various offices serving national communities and the newly created Office of Public Discourse. They seem to be directing our attention to not only to the need for taking counsel together, but to the fact that we are doing it. We, as a global community, the community of the Most Great Name, are dedicating our lives to the betterment of the world. And we are becoming better and better at doing this as we continue to learn how to learn.

But more on that later.

For now, this, His servant, seeketh to sleep.

Oh, one last thing: One of my neighbours just stopped by. As you know, if you are a regular reader of this blog, I am a jeweler. A chain-mail artist, by trade. Well, a few months ago Shoghi, my son, asked Marielle and I to write on his birthday invitations that he had enough toys. He didn't want his friends to bring any gifts. Instead he wanted them to bring some money for donation to a local charity. He raised nearly $250 for them.

I took the cash and wrote a cheque. We then went down there together to deliver the money, and they took his photo for their newsletter. He also had the chance to meet some of the people there who are being fed meals by the money he raised. Mama Bear, in particular, was in tears over hearing about how he raised the money. She gave him a big hug.

Anyways, just a few weeks ago he decided that he wanted to do another fund raiser for them. You see, now they are no longer "the homeless" or "the poor". They are real people, and he knows them. He can picture them. And he loves them.

So he asked me if he could make earrings for sale on my table, with the money going to "Our Place", the shelter.

Of course, I said.

Now he and his friends are making earrings and they are selling at my booth. He has raised another $50 for them, before I even had the signs up telling people what they were.

And my neighbour, Michelle, just stopped by to ask if she could take some of the earrings to her work tomorrow. She's been telling them about Shoghi, and they want to support him, too.

It just so happens that I would normally be selling my work downtown tomorrow, but I have a meeting at the University, so I can't do my sales. Coincidence? I don't think so. Anyways, I gave her the whole display. Now she tells me that she's going to get the Our Place logo and print up a sign explaining the story, and how they are for charity.

It all works out so well when you arise to serve.

(Ok. Now to sleep.)

2 comments:

  1. If you would like to read an integration of the Ridvan 2013 message into a book of 550 pages and 230 thousand words, a book containing reflections and understandings regarding the new Baha'i culture of learning and growth, what amounts to a paradigmatic shift, in the Baha’i community---go to this link: http://bahai-library.com/price_culture_learning_paradigm

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  2. I usually skip to the last paragraph to find my marching orders, but this year I found them in the first paragraph! The first quote said to me "no more excuses! Teach!"; the second said: "Obedience! Self Discipline! Live the Life!; and the third said: "Pay attention to what's important! Recommit! Without building our capacity, we won't attract anyone!"

    It felt a bit overwhelming for an opening statement, to be honest!

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