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Spirituality

Making a House a Home: Reflections on Union with God

Greg Hodges | Nov 12, 2014

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Greg Hodges | Nov 12, 2014

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

When two people love each other, they want to be near one another.

They enjoy each other’s company. They cook together, talk together, go places together. Because of their love, they feel close. The same thing applies to the relationship between God and an enkindled soul. Out of love, that soul seeks spiritual reunion with the Creator.

Between people, the relationship hinges on the fact that both partners are mutually present to each other. They can see each other and communicate by the same means. We could say that their relationship is symmetrical. But between God and a human being, only one partner is present in the world in the everyday sense. A human being cannot see, directly converse with or touch God. God is concealed by the very createdness of the universe. In one passage, Baha’u’llah illustrates this absolute difference between God and creation:

Consider the relation between the craftsman and his handiwork, between the painter and his painting. Can it ever be maintained that the work their hands have produced is the same as themselves? – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p.337.

Understandably, love between God and a human being cannot seem the same as that between two humans—because one is completely different from the other. As a result, their love takes place under condition of their inherent asymmetry. In a number of places Baha’u’llah illustrates this idea using a familiar image. He describes the human soul as a house and God as the one dwells within.

O Son of Being! Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent. Thy spirit is My place of revelation; cleanse it for My manifestation. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 17.

To understand the meaning of the love of God, it first helps to understand the meaning of making a house a home.

In the past few months my wife Mae and I have given a lot of thought about what it means to make a house into a home. We’ve moved into the house we intend on living in for decades to come. And ever since, we’ve consulted a lot on the arrangement of rooms and possible future remodeling projects. Some houses clash with the habits of those who live in them. So we’ve thought carefully about how our daily routines will mesh with the physical layout. We want things arranged so that we can get to them easily and efficiently. We want the space to harmonize with our routine patterns of movement and rest. In short, we’ve grappled with the idea that the house is a physical extension of the life we intend to have in it. And on that basis, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the the idea that the human soul is God’s earthly home.

With these reflections in mind, consider this passage from Baha’u’llah’s writings:

Whensoever the light of Manifestation of the King of Oneness settleth upon the throne of the heart and soul, His shining becometh visible in every limb and member. At that time the mystery of the famed tradition gleameth out of the darkness: “A servant is drawn unto Me in prayer until I answer him; and when I have answered him, I become the ear wherewith he heareth….” For thus the Master of the house hath appeared within His home, and all the pillars of the dwelling are ashine with His light. And the action and effect of the light are from the Light-Giver; so it is that all move through Him and arise by His will. – Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 22.

woman-meditatingBaha’u’llah writes of God’s home becoming illumined with light. Figuratively speaking, God doesn’t just come home, shut the curtains, and go to sleep. He directs himself to the world from his home base. The human soul becomes an instrument for God’s love of humanity.

And in order for God to find a home within our hearts, we ought to arrange our inner and outer lives for the ease and efficiency of his use. Just like we make a house ready to contain our lives, we can ready ourselves to become a pure channel of God’s loving actions in the world.

When we show consideration for others, the kindness of God serves humanity through what we do. When we increase and put into practice our understanding, the light of God manifests a small part of its limitless wisdom and knowledge. When we assist someone effectively in their own personal development, God guides people through us. And though our free will is in no way compromised in all this, it is not we who benefit the world, but God moving and acting through us. This work is the love between God and a human soul.

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Comments

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  • Jul 19, 2015
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    Great reading I really find it inspiring and informative, thanks
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