Thursday, July 26, 2007

BBQ and Brotherhood

I just had the pleasure of having a fine group of black men at my home for a cook out, prayers and studying together the recent June 3 Letter from the Universal House of Justice that was studied during the Black Men's Gathering Leadership Forum last week. I finally figured out how to make some plantains and the BBQ chicken was also acceptable. We filled our bellies and then filled my wife and my little condo with the vibration of communal conversation with God. The "holy ecstasy of prayer" took hold as each man's voice broke the silence with praise and supplication. We then got down to the business of studying the Letter. Some of the key elements of the discussion were the station of the Universal House of Justice, the greatness of the Day in which we are living, the redefinition of black experience offered in the Baha'i teachings and the importance of focusing our energies on making a contribution to the unfoldment of God's Divine Plan for universal salvation. It may be hard to believe, but this conversation was as rich if not more so than the one's I had last week! I felt so blessed to be able to share the spirit of the Baha'i Revelation with these men. As I listened to young and old, new and veteran Baha'is, Africans and African-Americans sharing there thoughts with wisdom, humor and humility I think that I got a foretaste of eternal bliss:

"Look ye not upon the fewness of thy numbers, rather, seek ye out hearts that are pure. One consecrated soul is preferable to a thousand other souls. If a small number of people gather lovingly together, with absolute purity and sanctity, with their hearts free of the world, experiencing the emotions of the Kingdom and the powerful magnetic forces of the Divine, and being at one in their happy fellowship, that gathering will exert its influence over all the earth. The nature of that band of people, the words they speak, the deeds they do, will unleash the bestowals of Heaven, and provide a foretaste of eternal bliss. The hosts of the Company on high will defend them, and the angels of the Abha Paradise, in continuous succession, will come down to their aid."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 80)

The hour is late and I am tired but inspired by these men who each in his own way, exemplifies these stirring Words of Baha'u'llah:

"This is not a Cause which may be made a plaything for your idle fancies, nor is it a field for the foolish and faint of heart. By God, this is the arena of insight and detachment, of vision and upliftment, where none may spur on their chargers save the valiant horsemen of the Merciful, who have severed all attachment to the world of being. These, truly, are they that render God victorious on earth, and are the dawning-places of His sovereign might amidst mankind."
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 84)