Keeping the sanctity of my pledge

Sunset in Northern VirginiaLast night, after the study circle on “Reflections on the Life of the Spirit”, I went up the hill anxious to catch the bus but also to meet again Smith, my new friend, whom I met few days ago, after the Feast. He was sitting there on the sidewalk as friendly as usual. I sat next to him, doubly relieved. We started talking — about the weather again, about his new roommates from Russia who work as guards in the nearby pool, and about his plans to go on vacation in two more days. I told him that I would love to invite him to a prayer meeting after he is back from vacation. Then he said that he is an Adventist and that he would not feel good about straying too far from his newborn faith. I talked a bit more about the expectation of the return of Christ in 1844 and that Baha’is believe that His return did indeed happen but I, having grown from an atheist, emphasized my admiration for anyone of faith and promised to pray for him.

Then later at the apartment I reflected on that promise, to pray for him. How often, I thought, I would tell people I would pray for them and never follow up. I myself have so often benefited from the prayers of othersĀ  — only yesterday I got a sweet message from a Wilmette Institute classmate from New Zealand who had said several prayers for me! So, as promised, I decided to pray for Smith.

This morning in my usual meeting with a teammate who is also a 7th Day Adventist, I asked him about Miller’s expectation that Jesus will return in 1844. He explained that Miller originally thought that Jesus would return in 1844 but then realized that in 1844 would start the judging of the saints but the actual return would take place in the Day of Judgment. This is quite interesting because now that I am studying about the prophetic expectations of Muslims and the powerful explanation Baha’u’llah provides in The Kitab-i-Iqan of the Day of Judgment, I can see how indeed having the power of knowledge the Baha’i Faith has provided, one can see all old religions in totally new light. But I am getting off-topic. The reason I brought this up is because I truly trust my coworker has always kept his promise to pray for me. I can feel it, I know it also from his amazing work ethic. So, I have a wonderful example and inspiration from both Baha’is and non-Baha’is to keep the sanctity of my pledge, just as Baha’u’llah has admonished one of His sons:

Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer to the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility. We pray God to protect thee from the heat of jealousy and the cold of hatred. He verily is nigh, ready to answer.

(Baha’u’llah, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 92)

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