Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Paragraph 50

The breeze of the bounty of the King of creation hath caused even the physical earth to be changed, were ye to ponder in your hearts the mysteries of divine Revelation.

And here we are, the final paragraph of these three paragraphs that talk about the changing of the earth. Whew. (We won't mention that it also falls under that clause from Matthew 24, "and the powers of the earth shall be shaken". Nope. We won't mention that.)

To recap, because that's what we love to do here, this little section began with the flowers and blossoms, and then continued with the rains. Now Baha'u'llah mentions the breeze.

The wind? What does that have to do with anything?

Well, let's look at a little story we both love. Many years ago, meaning like 30 or so, not hundreds or thousands, there was an eco-dome that was built, to test and see if we could create larger scale eco-systems, for either placing on the earth away from pollution, or even perhaps on Mars. They carefully selected the plants, and ensured that they were given plenty of water, and the appropriate amount of fertilizers. They introduced various insects and other animals, carefully ensuring all the while that everything was in balance. It all was going very well until one day, without much warning, the trees suddenly decided to fall over. As you can imagine, this puzzled the scientists. They went over all their work, carefully, one step at a time, to see what they missed. unable to find anything wrong, they did what all wise people do when faced with such a puzzle: they closed the project. Later, however, it aroused the interest of the local Aboriginal peoples, and one of the elders stepped forward to talk to the scientists. They recounted all they had done, and the elder quietly listened, and thought about it. In the end, the elder checked that they had ensured the presence of all the elements. They had the earth. The had the water. They had the sun. "And what", the elder asked, "about the wind?"

The wind, you see, is what strengthens the roots of the tree.

Similarly, it is the tests and trials that help strengthen our faith. Without those tests, the roots of our faith would never sink deep enough in our heart to gain in strength.

Another point that stood out for us was the idea that even the physical earth has been changed. So not only does this prophecy refer to the allegorical earth of men's hearts, but also the literal understanding of the very earth itself. While there are many ways to interpret even this literal interpretation, it is fairly safe to say that if someone from 150 years ago, or 1500 years ago, were to suddenly appear on earth today, they would be very surprised at what they would see.

A third point that leapt off the page for us was the idea, again, that we should ponder this in our heart. A couple of paragraphs ago, we mentioned how Peter may not have been an intellectual giant, but his heart was open, and that was what counted. We are very used to the idea of pondering things in our head, but here Baha'u'llah reminds us to ponder these ideas in our heart.

For example. if we think about it with only our intellect, we would say that the earth has not been changed. We would claim that we have only discovered more uses of the various resources of the planet, failing to see just how much has actually changed over the past hundred years.

Earlier on, way back in paragraph 13, we talked about how Baha'u'llah is encouraging us to make this sort of heart pondering a regular activity in our life, to make it a habit. In paragraph 2, He talked about how important it is to cleanse our hearts. This is all intertwined. We can even look at the very first Hidden Word, in which we are told to "Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart". The heart, as we all know, is the very throne of God within us, reserved for God Himself. So when Baha'u'llah tells us to ponder something in our heart, it is a very important thing to do, and something that we all need to learn how to do. It is a spiritual habit, like prayer, that needs to become an integral part of our life.

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