God came to us in the long-distant past, and gave us our great Faiths. Today, though, has God forgotten about us?
When God visited us, it was recorded in the Torah and the New Testament. Today we open the Book and read the old tales: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Christ.
These messengers of God taught us a law of love, a spiritual law, which through the memory of their lives lasts in the hearts of humanity even today. That law of love, the Baha’i teachings say, applies equally in every religion and for all time:
It will never be abrogated, for it consists in spiritual rather than material truth. It is faith, knowledge, certitude, justice, piety, high-mindedness, trustworthiness, love of God, and charity. It is mercy to the poor, assistance to the oppressed, generosity to the needy, and upliftment to the fallen. It is purity, detachment, humility, forbearance, patience, and constancy. These are divine qualities. These commandments will never be abrogated, but will remain in force and effect for all eternity. – Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, newly revised edition, pp. 54-55.
But gradually, as time passed, even this law of love was forgotten, and the spring of humanity turned to fall and winter, and all was cold, and dark.
Later the doors of heaven were opened and we dreamed again. We weren’t left alone—God continued to send messengers to us. This time God’s messenger appeared in the wilderness, the deserts of Arabia. God came to us through Muhammad, and again God passed by. We read His words in the Qur’an, a testament to a time we no longer remember.
But like before, over time love gradually turned to hate and warfare in men’s hearts. Life turned to death. The memory of the sweetness of the presence of God passed into forgetful oblivion.
But God did come again. He came in a dream that seeped into our present reality. Not two hundred years ago, He joined us here on Earth once again.
He came not once, but twice. The first time, the Bab raised up his word in 1844. By 1850, he was killed by a government that feared his message. But then, a few years later, Baha’u’llah arose. He was banished, tortured and imprisoned for 40 years. Because he was rejected by his people, in the Middle East, few noticed him. But his followers increased, and his message of love lived on.
Baha’u’llah’s son, full of spirituality, came to Europe and America. He spread his father’s teachings, of pure oneness, of love, of peace and unity. His name was Abdu’l-Baha.
Today, he has passed on into the great mystery, too. But memories remain, in our world, of when these spiritual beings came and went. Their joyous teachings have spread around the globe. Millions follow them. They built institutions—the Universal House of Justice, and National Spiritual Assemblies, and Local Spiritual Assemblies—composed of followers of these spiritual lights. They stand as testaments, in every country and city on Earth, of a dream that should be a memory—but instead has become a living reality, a force for social change, a source of love. Because the followers of Baha’u’llah stand among us today, the memory is real. It is alive.
From one perspective, it seems that God has passed us by, ignored us, left us to our own devices. But from another, we can see, in the heart of the world, that He is here with us. His message continues to resonate in our souls. He is in us. He is present and responsive to our needs. He holds us in the palm of His hand.
In reality, God did not pass us by at all. He is right here among us, still:
Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. The Call of God hath been raised, and the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men. It behoveth every man to blot out the trace of every idle word from the tablet of his heart, and to gaze, with an open and unbiased mind, on the signs of His Revelation, the proofs of His Mission, and the tokens of His glory. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 10.