April 28, 2016, Prescott- I took today off from work, as we Baha’is are so advised, on Holy Days such as this- the Ninth Day of the Ridvan Festival; the Day when, 163 years ago, Baha’u’llah revealed His Station to family and closest associates, while preparing to follow lawful orders and proceed overland, from Baghdad to Constantinople (Istanbul). Their departure would begin in earnest, three days later.
We will gather as a community and celebrate the Anniversary, 1 1/2 hours from now, with sacred readings, contemplation and a fine meal. Baha’u’llah and His entourage, by contrast, frequently had scant food and drink- especially when on the dusty path, northward from Iraq and across Anatolia. The Messengers of God always take on suffering, if only to show us that it can be overcome, in the end.
Ours is not a Faith of asceticism, nor is it favourable towards over-indulgence. We do well, He says, to share good fortune, and not lose heart, in times of scarcity. The former is largely the result of dispassionate hard work. The latter is a reminder that this is a life meant for character building, which can best be achieved in the face of trials. So, at least, is my understanding of it all.
He came to bring unity to mankind- and gave us a blueprint, slowly being understood, and accepted, by more people. It must, however, be done willingly by each individual. The days of forced conversion are being seen for what they were, and will not be repeated.