Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Paragraph 74

And now, with reference to His words: "And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." These words signify that in those days men will lament the loss of the Sun of the divine beauty, of the Moon of knowledge, and of the Stars of divine wisdom. Thereupon, they will behold the countenance of the promised One, the adored Beauty, descending from heaven and riding upon the clouds. By this is meant that the divine Beauty will be made manifest from the heaven of the will of God, and will appear in the form of the human temple. The term "heaven" denoteth loftiness and exaltation, inasmuch as it is the seat of the revelation of those Manifestations of Holiness, the Day-springs of ancient glory. These ancient Beings, though delivered from the womb of their mother, have in reality descended from the heaven of the will of God. Though they be dwelling on this earth, yet their true habitations are the retreats of glory in the realms above. Whilst walking amongst mortals, they soar in the heaven of the divine presence. Without feet they tread the path of the spirit, and without wings they rise unto the exalted heights of divine unity. With every fleeting breath they cover the immensity of space, and at every moment traverse the kingdoms of the visible and the invisible. Upon their thrones is written: "Nothing whatsoever keepeth Him from being occupied with any other thing;" and on their seats is inscribed: "Verily, His ways differ every day." (Qur'an 55:29) They are sent forth through the transcendent power of the Ancient of Days, and are raised up by the exalted will of God, the most mighty King. This is what is meant by the words: "coming in the clouds of heaven."

Well, here we are, on the next phrase of that incredible prophesy from Matthew 24. As you may recall, all of Part 1 from paragraph 24 on revolves around this quote from Jesus. This paragraph begins the section that looks at the phrase "And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." And it goes all the way through paragraph 85.

As we saw in the earlier analysis of other phrases, there are many levels of meaning hidden within the one line, and Baha'u'llah helps us explore just a few of them. To start, He begins here, with this beautiful description of the dual station of the Manifestations of God. Actually, He begins by reminding us of His earlier interpretations of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. Then He goes on to describe this dual aspect of the Messengers. With this, He ties this back to the earlier sections of the Book, a lesson we can emulate when teaching the Faith to others.

This description appears to us to be a path of Their life. It begins with birth, with mention of the womb, and continues with life on this planet, "dwelling on this earth", and describes Their presence amongst us. He moves from the earth up to the heavens, from the feet to the wings, and describes the immensity of what They perceive. He talks about Their majesty, with the thrones, and Their everyday life with the simplicity of a seat. Although They are with us here on earth., They are, in reality, "sent forth" and "raised up".

While we mourn the loss of the sun, the moon and the stars, we should also rejoice in the presence of the true Light from God. An interesting aspect of this is the idea that "all the tribes of the earth mourn". Is this truly the case? It is, if we begin to think about the various stages of grief, as described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. First, many people deny it. They deny, for example, that the prejudice engendered by their churches response to, say, gay marriages, or interfaith work, is anything other than a lack of love. They deny what is obvious to any outside observer. Then there is the anger, either expressed through the fanaticism that led to the world wars, or the more recent examples of Islamic fanaticism leading to terrorist activities in many parts of the world, or the fanatical Christian anger demonstrated in parts of the United States. There is also the attempt at bargaining, the denial of the reality of climate change, for example, and the attempted bargaining to keep our modern comforts while trying to stave off this impending disaster. The fourth stage is depression, evidenced by the massive upswing in cases of depression and suicide throughout the world. Finally, though, will come acceptance, as we realize the truth of the current state of the world.

Another interesting quote He uses at the end of this paragraph is "Nothing whatsoever keepeth Him from being occupied with any other thing." This is a very interesting phrase, and was seen quite clearly in Baha'u'llah's life. It was also seen in the life of 'Abdu'l-Baha. Many are the reports of 'Abdu'l-Baha as He was dictating letters to His secretaries. He is said to have been dictating one letter in Arabic, while at the same time dictating another letter to a different secretary in Persian, while at the same time writing a third letter by hand in Turkish.

In both of Their lives, it did not matter what was happening around Them, for these events could not distract Them from the all-important work that They were doing.

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