God created humanity out of His love for us. Every day we are nurtured and protected by His love; without it we would be lost. God’s love is like a strong and mighty fortress, or stronghold, that keeps us safe and secure. Inside the stronghold of the love of God, we try our best to do what will be pleasing to God, and will allow our hearts to be filled with His love. It’s through following God’s guidance and living according to His teachings that we will find true happiness, a happiness that lasts forever. Otherwise, we will surely be dragged down by sorrow and trouble. One way we know what God wishes for us is to look at the example of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who reflects perfectly all of God’s teachings.
reading/prayer for study
O SON OF BEING! My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure, and he that turneth away shall surely stray and perish. (Arabic Hidden Words No. 9)
- The King and the Cabbage, from Ruhi Book 3, Grade 2, Lesson 4.
- “My Love Is My Stronghold”, from Ruhi Book 3. Check out the version performed by David Hunt.
- Drawing #24 from Ruhi Book 3, Grade 1. Although the quote is different, the drawing is still related.
- The Stronghold of God’s Love. “Inside the stronghold of the love of God, we try our best to do what will be pleasing to God. Circle the things that would be pleasing to God.”
- Build a “House of Peace”, a craft adapted from the Peace Pack. PDFs (and photos of children putting it together during a lesson) can be found on the “Unity of the East” children’s class blog.
- Freeze & Think: Have the children walk around the room without bumping into each other, and periodically yell “freeze”, at which point they must stop in their tracks and hold their pose. Each time, pick one of the children and ask them, “What are you doing?” The child must answer with something that corresponds to her pose; for example, if she is frozen in place with both hands in the air, she might answer, “I’m lifting weights,” or “I’m getting books from the top shelf.” Repeat until each child has had a turn.
- Give the children a series of situations which they must act out in pairs, such as the following:
- Two children are walking down a hallway. One of them has his arms full. They meet in the middle and bump into each other accidentally, and the one child drops what he was carrying.
- A mother is in the kitchen while her daughter is watching TV on the couch. The mother asks if someone can help her with kitchen chores.
- One child is about to sit down to start homework when a friend stops by and asks if he wants to go out somewhere and have fun.
Once the situation has been introduced properly, the teacher should call “freeze”, at which point all those assembled should consult on how to resolve the situation in a way that would be pleasing to God. The teacher should help the children to identify particular spiritual qualities shown in the situation’s resolution, such as generosity, compassion, justice, and so on.
“Indeed, the laws of God are like unto the ocean and the children of men as fish, did they but know it.” (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 5)
“O ye peoples of the world! Know assuredly that My commandments are the lamps of My loving providence among My servants, and the keys of My mercy for My creatures.” (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 19)
“The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of Divine inspiration.” (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 19)
“In all these journeys the traveler must stray not the breadth of a hair from the “Law,” for this is indeed the secret of the “Path” and the fruit of the Tree of “Truth”; and in all these stages he must cling to the robe of obedience to the commandments, and hold fast to the cord of shunning all forbidden things, that he may be nourished from the cup of the Law and informed of the mysteries of Truth.” (Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 39)