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Have you ever heard an inner message, a quiet, divine summons from somewhere deep in your soul?
Some philosophers call that summons the “still, small voice of the spirit.” But it doesn’t have to be a whisper—sometimes that clarion call can be much more pronounced:
So loud is the call … that mortal ears are well-nigh deafened with its vibrations. The whole creation, methinks, is being disrupted and is bursting asunder through the shattering influence of the Divine summons issued from the throne of glory. – Abdu’l-Baha, quoted by Shoghi Effendi in The World Order of Baha’u’llah, pp. 111-112.
Have you heard it? If not, are you seeing the mass disruption affecting all aspects of human life?
Baha’is claim to know the source of that divine call and the disruption that goes along with it: the appearance and teachings of Baha’u’llah:
When the Word of God is revealed unto all created things whoso then giveth ear and heedeth the Call is, indeed, reckoned among the most distinguished souls, though he be a carrier of ashes. And he who turneth away is accounted as the lowliest of His servants, though he be a ruler amongst men and the possessor of all the books that are in the heavens and on earth.
It behoveth thee to look with divine insight upon the things We have revealed and sent unto thee and not towards the people and that which is current amongst them. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 186.
Baha’u’llah even issued written warnings to the kings and rulers of his day about heeding this call, advising them to turn away from the chimera of material power and dominion. They ignored his admonitions—and so we find ourselves in a shaky quasi-peace, in which a spark of aggression could potentially ignite another global holocaust.
The divine summons is none other than the call of unity, peace and love for all humanity. The Baha’i teachings say that it was issued directly from God, through Baha’u’llah, as the most recent prophet and founder of a major world Faith. All of the previous prophets of God have issued this call, yet this day is unique, because today peace “is not only possible but inevitable” as the Universal House of Justice wrote in its 1985 statement The Promise of World Peace.
Each of us has the potential to heed this call on our own, through our own will and desire to act in the service of humankind.
However—we each accept faith in God and his religion in a myriad different ways. Some paths to God and eternal truth are longer than others. Obstacles are encountered and must be recognized, prayed over and overcome with action or the will to change. It is not easy to be a believer, for, as Baha’u’llah’s writings say:
It is the nature of life that our faith will be put to the test, and we feel ecstatic when we are able to pass those tests. We grow, and so do those around us.
To answer the divine summons is unique to each of us, and it begins with service to God and to humanity. Service to God is the path we choose for ourselves, and service to humanity is to our family, friends, neighbors and strangers, especially the poor and downtrodden. For a Baha’i, service should be to all those we meet.
When we come to an acceptance of God and His divine will for us to serve humanity, we and the world and all that is in it will begin to change, just like the surface of the water ripples outward from the tossing of a pebble into its depths. Enough pebbles and the water will rise, healing the ills of humankind and washing away the dross.
Baha’u’llah wrote: “Whatever hath been enshrined in all the Scriptures of the past hath been made evident. To doubt or hesitate is no more possible…” – Baha’u’llah, quoted by Shoghi Effendi in The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 111.