Bahá’u’lláh announced the arrival of the age of maturity for the entire human race, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke of the important role every nation has to play in achieving it. Growing up, as we all know, is no easy thing (hello, adolescent awkwardness). There have been and are going to be growing pains, and they will ensure that humanity attains its high spiritual destiny. America will not be immune to these pains but through them will become a land of spiritual distinction and leadership, and a champion of justice, unity and peace.
Nowhere else is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s love for America clearer to me than in His Tablets of the Divine Plan. Written in the Holy Land in 1916 and 1917 while World War I was raging in Europe, the torrent of love that poured forth from His Pen is astounding. One hundred years later, these Tablets continue to inspire the community-building work in the Americas because of the love underlying their revelation as well as the insights one can gain through their study. For example, the Master gently coaxed the new believers, who were still tender in their beliefs, with one well placed example at a time in order to demonstrate the resemblance between the Bible and the Quran, thus opening their minds and hearts to the concept of the unity of religion and the oneness of God.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá had high hopes for this continent, and He spoke about it constantly throughout these Tablets:
May this American Democracy be the first nation to establish the foundation of international agreement… the first nation to proclaim the unity of mankind… the first to unfurl the standard of the Most Great Peace.
Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees… This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy.
How can America achieve this glorious destiny? The following paragraph, which I found on the website of the Bahá’í community of the United States, is particularly insightful on this matter:
To achieve this destiny, however, our nation must overcome several persistent spiritual challenges—removing every trace of racism from our hearts, embracing the equality of women and men, eliminating the inordinate disparity between rich and poor, transforming a limited nationalism to the love of humanity as a whole, and in humility before God, submerge religious prejudices in a great spirit of mutual forbearance that will enable us to work together for the advancement of human understanding and peace. These are among the preeminent goals of the U.S. Baha’i community.
Photo by Tamila Bishkek, www.nineteenmonths.com