Monday, March 23, 2009

Miracle of Principle

Bolivia and the Miracle of Principle

By John Taylor; 2009 Mar 23, Baha 03, 165 BE

Comenius and the Oneness of Humanity, I

Working through the Gospel of Mark in the almost-daily study class with our children, we came across the following advice from Jesus on how to pray.

"Therefore I tell you, all things whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them." (Mark 11:24, WEB)

This promise that you get what you pray for if only you really, truly, sincerely believe is expressed several times in the New Testament, but usually with the proviso: "if ye ask in my name," which Abdu'l-Baha interpreted to mean asking in the loving spirit of the Christ. For example, if you pray that the flames of hell will lick the soles of your enemies, that is not in the right spirit and probably will not be answered anytime soon. In fact, you had better pray that it is not answered.

What amazes me is not that Jesus made miracles, but that he taught his disciples how to perform miracles themselves with their prayers. Not only did they go out, believe and perform miracles on their own, away from Jesus, but others too, who were not disciples, borrowed the idea of doing that too, just by watching how Jesus did it; they prayed themselves, and believed -- and no doubt at the same time a similar state of conviction and expectation was communicated to those they performed miracles on. And lo and behold, these amateurs performed miracles too! All that is required, it seems, is to believe and ask in the name or spirit of Christ.

When strangers started having the same success at performing miracles as the disciples, they complained to the Master. If He had been a modern corporation he might have slapped a copyright or trademark on His miracles and said these and these only are real miracles. "We want you only to accept our miracles because we are concerned about quality control. Other peoples' miracles may be dangerous. They are just cheap knock-offs." Instead, he told them, "Those who are not against us are for us." Simple as that. The cause of God is God's, it is not a human possession. Anybody who does good does good. All who pray and believe, get.

So, this promise that if you pray and believe that it is already answered, it will be answered speaks to us today, but in a slightly different way. We now understand the principles of faith, even as it was predicted (these two prophesies Comenius often refers to):

"All thy children shall be taught of the Lord." (Isa 54:13)

"It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God." (John 6:45)

Having this direct relationship to divine truth, we bestride the juncture between two pivotal principles, search and oneness. We seek truth, and come to believe that the truth will make us all one, that our many opinions and viewpoints will merge. That is the great miracle of our time. Though it is purely mental and does not offer physical cures, it is universal, unlike anything in the past.

And so it shall be.

We will seek our own truth and having sought it out we will love humanity as our self. If we believe, the miracle will already be accomplished. The varied opinions and oppositions that keep us apart will disappear, just like a movie on the cinema screen when somebody pulls out the plug on the projector. Gone completely. There will be no significant differences in opinion, only what unites. Comenius describes the principle like this:

"If we weigh up the situation correctly, there is no reason for contempt on anyone's part. We are all the work of the same God, who tolerates and even loves and fosters us all because He recognises in everyone some part of Himself which He has contributed personally. For the common Creator and Preserver of all mankind has so distributed His gifts that no nation or mind or language or age is deprived of its inheritance, if only mortal men knew how to use it to the common advantage." (Panorthosia II, Ch. 8, Para 13, 113-114)

The ability to perform this miracle of unity is not restricted to any group or class. All reflect some of the truth, and a good leader nurtures it in every fertile garden. This is proven by the fact that even the highest leaders, the Manifestations of God, often took counsel from the lowest. Baha'u'llah, in the Iqan, points out that Muhammad took the advice of a lowly fellow to dig trenches, and that saved the city of Medina from imminent conquest by Meccan allied armies. Comenius uses the example of Moses, who took the advice of Jethro.

"Even if we had someone like the original Moses, privileged to have converse with God Himself, yet if Jethro the Midianite (Exodus 18:19-24) also offers him some good advice, he will find that he cannot afford to scorn it. For the wind of Heaven bloweth where it listeth upon lowly and exalted places alike, and who shall prevent it?" (Panorthosia II, Ch. 8, para 13, pp. 113-114)

Who can doubt but that the solutions to climate change will be found in the most unexpected of places? It is ironic that the largest deposit of lithium in the world -- the metal that we will soon need in order to change every automobile over from gasoline to electric -- is to be found under lakebeds in Bolivia, a country that for the first time in history just elected an aboriginal to its presidency.

There is talk of cooperatives and other traditional native ways of enterprise. The attention -- not to mention the prayers -- of the world should be directed at Bolivia. We have much to learn from the native peoples. Let us hope that we will learn aboriginal ways and regard resources as the property of all humankind, to be distributed for the good of all, even those unfortunate enough to live over those resources. May we be just to this nation and protect them from the violence and subversion that have been the mark of those charged with extracting precious resources up until now... Miracles do happen, if we pray and believe.

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