Saturday, June 5, 2010

And the Leaves of the Tree were for the Healing of the Nations"



"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." (Revelation Chapter 22)

Four Baha'is are mentioned in what Shoghi Effendi terms “the immortal Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan.”

Who are they, and what do they have in common?

A WOMAN SERVING AS A LIBRARIAN IN ALASKA
1. The first mention of an individual is this, in the April 8, 1916 Tablet to the United States and Canada:

"...one of the maidservants of the Merciful has hastened to those parts, serving as a librarian in the public library, and according to her ability is not failing in teaching the Cause..."

This woman is not identified by name in this tablet; her name may well not have been known by Abdu'l-Baha. Her name is Margaret Green, she is identified in an article entitled "Traveling and Teaching in Alaska" written by Mariam Haney, in the Star of the West Magazine, October 1924, Volume 15, No. 7, page 210:


"Later Miss Margaret Green received an appointment in an important library in Alaska, and as much as possible she shared with others her knowledge of the Message which is joy-bringing, and which includes that marvelous program for PEACE which shall be enduring through the application and living of the Baha'i principles."

One of the friends met her in her later years in the United States. She moved to Juneau, Alaska in the early summer of 1915 and remained there for three years.


THE HAND OF THE CAUSE OF GOD AGNES ALEXANDER
2. The second individual mentioned is Agnes Alexander, in the April 11, 1916 Tablet to the United States and Canada:

"Consider ye, that Miss Agnes Alexander, the daughter of the Kingdom, the beloved maidservant of the Blessed Perfection, traveled alone to the Hawaiian Islands, to the Island of Honolulu, and now she is gaining spiritual victories in Japan! Reflect ye how this daughter was confirmed in the Hawaiian Islands. She became the cause of the guidance of a gathering of people."

Agnes Alexander received 13 tablets from Abdu'l-Baha, and many letters from Shoghi Effendi. Her letters were a joy to him, because they were not filled with problems and questions; they were filled with news of her service to the Faith, news of the believers she had taught, news of her carrying out his wishes.
Agnes Alexander (L), May Maxwell
Copyright © 2010 Baha'i National Archives, Wilmette
Used With Permission

ALMA KNOBLOCH
3. The third individual mentioned in the Tablets of the Divine Plan was Alma Knobloch in the April 11, 1916 Tablet to the United States and Canada:

"Likewise Miss Knobloch traveled alone to Germany. To what a great extent she became confirmed!"
She is also immortalized in God Passes By: "Alma Knobloch . . .  hoisted the standard of the Faith in Germany, and carried its light to Austria."  At the request of Abdu'l-Baha, she pioneered to Germany in 1907.  One of the great early teachers of the Faith in Europe, she helped to bring the Hand of the Cause Hermann Grossman into the Faith, as explained in "Hermann Grossman, Hand of the Cause of God, A Life for the Faith."

Alma Knobloch at her home in Stuttgart, Germany, a year after
the revelation of the Tablet of the Divine Plan in which she is mentioned
Copyright © 2010 Baha'i National Archives, Wilmette
Used With Permission


MAY MAXWELL 
4. The fourth person mentioned in the Tablets of the Divine Plan was May Maxwell. Of her, Abdu'l-Baha wrote, in His February 21, 1917 Tablet to Canada and Greenland:

"...through the effort of the maidservant of God Mrs. Maxwell a number of the sons and daughters of the Kingdom in that Dominion were gathered together and associated with each other, increasing this joyous exhilaration day by day."

May Maxwell was the first Baha'i in Europe, and the first Baha'i in Canada. She brought Agnes Alexander and many other notable Baha'is into the Faith. She lived a remarkable life of service.  In 1937 her daughter Mary married Shoghi Effendi, and became Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum.


At the end, May Maxwell fell in her tracks, a day after her arrival at her pioneer post in Buenos Aires, Argentina.




May Maxwell with her little baby, Mary
Copyright © 2010 Baha'i National Archives, Wilmette
Used With Permission

May Maxwell (R) and Juliet Thompson

Copyright © 2010 Baha'i National Archives, Wilmette
Used With Permission

What these four believers—the only individuals mentioned in the Tablets of the Divine Plan—have in common, is that all were women.

The Tree of Life, of which mention is made in the Bible, is Bahá'u'lláh, and the daughters of the Kingdom are the leaves upon that blessed Tree.
(`Abdu'l-Bah
á)

"...every true woman who is attracted by the fragrances of holiness in this most glorious age will surpass even the most developed men of previous centuries."
(`Abdu'l-Bahá)
 

O ye maid-servants of the Merciful! It is incumbent upon you to soar up with wings of joy and happiness unto the apex of exultation and gladness; for He hath assigned unto you the greatest guidance in the Day of Resurrection, and hath crowned you with the diadem of glory and divine honor among the women of the whole world, and hath chosen you above the queens of the world for his great bounty.
      Verily, the crowns which are on the heads of the noble women -- the queens of the world -- all their bases will be finally broken, their gems scattered away, their luster removed and will become as dispersed dust. But your magnificent crowns are everlastingly brilliant and permanently glorious and mighty and their gems scintillating throughout cycles and ages.
      This is the highest gift! This is the greatest bestowal! Thank ye your Lord for this great bounty and favor! O ye maid-servants of the Merciful! verily, your Lord, the Supreme, is calling upon you from His Ancient Kingdom and announces unto you such glad-tidings, whereat the hearts of the angels of heaven rejoice.
      It is incumbent upon you to strip yourselves of every old garment (i. e., old beliefs and past customs). It is incumbent upon you to be severed from this contemptible earthly world. It is incumbent upon you (to seek after) the Kingdom, in this great Day!
      Purify ye your hearts, sanctify your souls and cleanse your spirits; so that ye may attain to this great success.  Then ye will become the angels of heaven, will enter among the Supreme Concourse and will permanently abide in the paradise of union (with God), and will be associated with the Beauty of El-Abh
á
.
(`Abdu'l-Bahá)


O handmaid of God! In this wondrous dispensation in which the Ancient Beauty and the Manifest Light -- may my spirit be sacrificed for His loved ones -- hath risen from the horizon of age-old hopes, women have assumed the attributes of men in showing forth steadfastness in the Cause of God, and revealing the heroism and might of fearless men. They invaded the arena of mystic knowledge and hoisted aloft the banner on the heights of certitude. Thou, too, must make a mighty effort and show forth supreme courage. Exert thyself and taste of the sweetness of a heavenly draught, for the sweet taste of the love of God will linger on to the end that hath no end.
(
`Abdu'l-Bahá, Compilation on Women)


3 comments:

  1. Thank you Brent. A most wonderful tribute to these precious leaves.

    Loving regards,
    Shirley Macias

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am going to use this while I read the Tablets of the Divine Plan, which is mentioned in the UHJ letter of December.

    ReplyDelete