In this day, Bahá’u’lláh exhorts all men and women to live together as one people, united and in accord, even as one soul. Obviously, we know a lot of work is needed to accomplish this aim, and we must learn certain skills that will be used in creating this new kind of community called for by Bahá’u’lláh. We must practice patience, forbearance, kindness, generosity, truthfulness, trustworthiness, love, and a host of other virtues so that we may learn to live together as one world in unity and peace. We can begin practicing these virtues and skills with our family and friends so that we can learn how to apply them on the level of our community, our nation and our world.
Prayers/readings for study
“The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” Bahá’u’lláh. Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh. US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1990 pocket-size edition. p.250.
“All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. The Almighty beareth Me witness: To act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man. Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth. ” Bahá’u’lláh. Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh. US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1990 pocket-size edition. p.215.
- The Merchant and the Coal, a story about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
- It’s Me Who Builds Community.
- Busy Hands.
Imagine that you have a shirt with a special pocket on it. This pocket connects to the spiritual worlds of God and allows you to pull out any virtue or spiritual quality you need to create unity in any situation, but you must decide which virtue or quality to pull out. Then imagine how the people involved could use it in the following situations:
- A classmate really wants to read a book you’re reading, but you’re not finished with it.
- An apple tree is growing between two houses, but the neighbours disagree on who the apples belong to.
- Someone stole and ate your lunch, and you know who did it.
- A friend borrowed your bicycle three months ago and hasn’t given it back, even though she said she would bring it back in a week.
- A car accident has happened. No one’s injured, but the cars are badly damaged.
Pantomime: Children start with physical space exercises and basic mime exercises (as mentioned in Book 3A), and then start a group pantomime where they must mime being different parts of a complex object. Examples:
- A car. (Mime the engine, a door, wheels…)
- An elephant. (Mime the ears, a trunk, the belly, the legs, the tail…)
- A table. (Mime the four legs, perhaps supporting the top by picking it up and holding above their heads.)
- A crane (the machine, not the animal). (Mime the treads, the cabin, the driver, the neck and hook…)
- A room. (Mime the four walls, one with a door, maybe a window…)
“O CHILDREN OF MEN! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.” Bahá’u’lláh. The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh. US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1985 reprint. p.52.
“I desire distinction for you. The Bahá’ís must be distinguished from others of humanity. But this distinction must not depend upon wealth — that they should become more affluent than other people. I do not desire for you financial distinction. It is not an ordinary distinction I desire; not scientific, commercial, industrial distinction. For you I desire spiritual distinction — that is, you must become eminent and distinguished in morals. In the love of God you must become distinguished from all else. You must become distinguished for loving humanity, for unity and accord, for love and justice. In brief, you must become distinguished in all the virtues of the human world — for faithfulness and sincerity, for justice and fidelity, for firmness and steadfastness, for philanthropic deeds and service to the human world, for love toward every human being, for unity and accord with all people, for removing prejudices and promoting international peace. Finally, you must become distinguished for heavenly illumination and for acquiring the bestowals of God. I desire this distinction for you. This must be the point of distinction among you.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “The Promulgation of Universal Peace”, p. 190.
If this warfare and conflict are not entirely effaced, if the whole world of humanity is not united and in accord, if the various races refuse to associate with one another, how can we ever aspire to the realization of that dream of the millennium of which it is said, “The earth will be transformed into a delectable paradise and all the children of men will live in the utmost happiness”? If the members of a family are perfectly united it will add to their comfort and joy. If the people of a city are inspired with civic unity the whole community will advance. If the inhabitants of a great continent become one spirit in different bodies marvelous progress will be made and if the people of the entire globe are welded into one great commonwealth the prayer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven,” will be a reality for each will have the kingdom within himself. Attributed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. From notes compiled by Isabel Fraser Chamberlain. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on Divine Philosophy. Tudor Press, Boston. 1918. pp.182-183.
We must be patient with each other’s shortcomings, and always strive to create love and unity among the believers, who, after all, are still immature in many ways and far from perfect. The Faith itself is the great thing, and the Bahá’ís must strive to become ever more perfect instruments for Bahá’u’lláh to use and to accomplish His purpose through. From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 26 May 1946 to an individual believer. Excellence in All Things, from the Compilation of Compilations, Vol. I. 1990 revision.