Christianity Course Contributes to Three Declarations in Malta
Elda DiLorenzo, an American pioneering in Sassari, Sardinia, who recently made a trip to Malta, found that Christianity for Deepening and Dialogue equipped her to relate Christ to Baha’u’llah, resulting in three declarations. The following is one of her stories.
I met two seekers in a spiritual-film discussion group in Malta. All of us were very moved, and the discussion turned to children’s classes. The idea of offering children’s classes to a group of children sparked an interest in two participants. They asked many questions about the scope of the classes, the methods, the goals, and the curriculum. One of them was particularly taken with the notion of serving the community so he asked specific questions about that.
The next day I called him to ask if a friend and I could meet with him for a chat, and he agreed. At first we started with the presentation in the usual way, talking about the unity of God, the concepts of progressive revelation etc., using what is commonly referred to as Anna’s presentation in a booklet form that they use in Malta. But, as it became clear that this man was well educated spiritually as well as materially, it became less useful to follow that presentation, and I began asking directed questions to gauge his interests and desires.
The more acceptance and matches we found, the more excited my friend and I became. At this point it was clear that this man had already accepted the principles but had not developed a relationship with Baha’u’llah, so we decided to pray for him and proffer several stories the next day at a deepening he agreed to attend. We came the next day with several stories of Baha’ullah’s sufferings in prison. The seeker was visibly moved by the stories and asked me about the story of Baha’u’llah. The brief synopsis I gave him moved him to tears, and he replied that even Christ had been hounded by the authorities and betrayed by His followers. We then progressed to the mysteries of Christ’s resurrection, which by this time I was itching to share, having read enough of the posts and readings in the course Christianity for Deepening and Dialogue to feel comfortable sharing the variations in viewpoints from the Christian and Baha’i perspective. The fact that many post-resurrection sightings of Jesus had been depicted in the Bible was to him a well-known fact, and he was clearly uncomfortable until I asked if he had thought of the sightings as allegorical language to describe a spiritual awakening. His eyes lit up and he said, “Of course!” Then he asked about the second coming, and it was clear that his mind was racing, so I asked him what he thought of it.
Briefly, he described a time of troubles when the Father would come to save humankind from itself, so I asked if these were times of trouble, and he nodded, and then I asked how would the Father come, and he replied, in the clouds. I explained that the clouds are our blocks–we cannot see clearly the sun, just like the Israelites could not see Christ in Jesus the carpenter. Then I asked what was the name of the Promised One, he replied, “GLORY,” and I pointed out the meaning of the name Baha’u’llah. He was stunned and said he needed to think. So I played with the kids, and, as we giggled and laughed, he was deep in thought.
After a while he shook his head, and I asked if he wanted to play with the kids and me, and he did. Nothing more was said until that evening at the reflection gathering where we had a special presentation about the day’s activities. The community was asked to participate in an exercise to visualize their ideal growing community, and then we had the children bring in their ideal community where they showed the activities flowing from one children’s class gradually connecting each of the houses and apartments as they expanded from friend to friend. This created such a feeling of intimacy and joy that the seeker came to me and said: “I know, and I must tell my mother.” He is now doing a Ruhi Book 1 intensive.