Sunday, March 09, 2008

On Further Anna's Presentation "Refreshment": Concepts are more important that information

For detail, click on photo
Saturday my wife and I gathered with a group of the friends in the cluster for further "refreshment" on Anna's Presentation, included in Ruhi Book 6, in anticipation for our upcoming 9-day IPG that will begin right after the fast. I was reminded of the difference between presenting facts versus concepts. Conveying the overall concepts -- rationale -- is far preferable to getting caught up in presenting endless facts. Here is an excerpt from the final section. -gw

I am sure you are aware that I am inviting you to join a religion and not just accept a collection of nice ideals. In fact, the Bahá‟í Faith is a very organized religion whose aim is nothing less than the unification of the entire human race. It will be helpful for you to think of the work of the Bahá‟ís as the building of a world civilization. The Universal House of Justice tells us that there are three participants in this work, each with a very important role.

The first participant is the individual believer. It is the duty of this individual to remain firm in the Covenant, to strive daily to bring his or her life in line with Bahá‟u‟lláh‟s Teachings, and to serve humanity, always conscious of the fact that life does not end with death and that one‟s relation with God is eternal. After death, our souls become free and continue to progress towards God for all eternity. Our lives here are very much like the life of an infant in the womb of the mother. For some nine months the child develops faculties – eyes, ears, hands and so on – to be used later in this world. In the same way, we are to develop here the spiritual faculties that we need to progress in the other worlds of God. Of course, we do not achieve our purpose by just thinking about it. We have to work, serve our fellow human beings, and share the knowledge we gain with others.

The second participant is the community. Human beings were not created to exist alone. We live in communities and must work together to build the new civilization. The community closest to us is the local one which consists of the Bahá‟ís of our village or town. It is in the local community where we learn to cooperate with one another, to grow together and become united. In addition to being members of the local community, we are also members of the national community and then the worldwide Bahá‟í community which is constantly expanding and attracting people from every religious background, race, and nationality.

The institutions of the Faith, the Universal House of Justice tells us, represent the third participant in the building of the new civilization. This is a subject about which we will have to talk some more when we discuss the Covenant. For now, let me just mention that included in the commandments of Bahá‟u‟lláh are many related to the way society should be organized. In the past, the Manifestations of God have not said much about how their followers should organize themselves and people have had to discover how to do this by themselves. But in the case of the Bahá‟í Faith, Bahá‟u‟lláh has brought His own Administrative Order, which means that He has told us what institutions we must create, how they should function, and how humanity should be governed.

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