Sunday, February 17, 2008

"O ye friends, exert ye an effort !"


The Kingdom or Kingdom of God is a pivotal concept in Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and the Bahá'í Faith.

As a child, I would say:
"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." ~ King James Bible, Matthew 6:10

It took me till well into my adulthood to really contemplate what "Thy will be done in earth" might mean.

There are [naturally?] differing opinions about what exactly "in earth" means. One of my favorite explanations is:

"If the members of a family are perfectly united it will add to their comfort and joy. If the people of a city are inspired with civic unity the whole community will advance. If the inhabitants of a great continent become one spirit in different bodies marvelous progress will be made and if the people of the entire globe are welded into one great commonwealth the prayer, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as in heaven," will be a reality for each will have the kingdom within himself." ~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 182

Today's Main Excerpt:

O ye sons and daughters of the Kingdom! Your letter was received. From its contents it was known that, praise be to God, your hearts are in the utmost purity and your souls rejoice in the glad tidings of God. The mass of the people are occupied with self and worldly desire, are immersed in the ocean of the nether world and are captives of the world of nature, save those souls who have been freed from the chains and fetters of the material world and, like unto swift-flying birds, are soaring in this unbounded realm. They are awake and vigilant, they shun the obscurity of the world of nature, their highest wish centereth on the eradication from among men of the struggle for existence, the shining forth of the spirituality and the love of the realm on high, the exercise of utmost kindness among peoples, the realization of an intimate and close connection between religions and the practice of the ideal of self-sacrifice. Then will the world of humanity be transformed into the Kingdom of God.

O ye friends, exert ye an effort! Every expenditure is in need of an income. This day, in the world of humanity, men are all the time expending, for war is nothing but the consumption of men and of wealth. At least engage ye in a deed of profit to the world of humanity that ye may partially compensate for that loss. Perchance, through the divine confirmations, ye may be assisted in promulgating amity and concord among men, in substituting love for enmity, in causing universal peace to result from universal war and in converting loss and rancour into profit and love. This wish will be realized through the power of the Kingdom.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 281

4 comments:

kebelle said...

The assumption of the Kingdom is its political concept of an empire. In an empire, there has to be a center, a capital where products from the countryside are gathered. When the poor peasants in the margins would not bring the product to the capital, their lives are in danger. The notion of the Kingdom of God is actually oppressive, and it supports political oppression and domination. The history of Christianity would testify into it. Christianity's notion of the Kingdom left many homeless and fatherless families. The Kingdom of God, created great extortion and annihilation in human history.

Alexander M Zoltai said...

kebelle,

What you say about "Kingdom" is exactly why I included this quote in the post:

"If the members of a family are perfectly united it will add to their comfort and joy. If the people of a city are inspired with civic unity the whole community will advance. If the inhabitants of a great continent become one spirit in different bodies marvelous progress will be made and if the people of the entire globe are welded into one great commonwealth the prayer, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as in heaven," will be a reality for each will have the kingdom within himself."

~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 182

kebelle said...

I think, if we tame this notion of the kingdom into a "borderless human community," it would make sense and relevance into our contemporary world that is tired of the long history of domination and control.

Alexander M Zoltai said...

"borderless human community"

Wonderful !!!

~ Alex