November 13, 2009

First church in US visited by ‘Abdu’l-Baha

The Master went to the Church of the Ascension. This was the first church in America to be honored by the presence of the Master. He had previously received an invitation to visit this great edifice.

He entered the church from a special side door opening into a room in the church and rested for a while. The clergymen came in and expressed their warm gratitude for His presence. After prayers, the Master went to the podium from the upper door. At the insistence of the minister, the Master sat on the tall chair especially reserved for the Viceroy of Christ. After more prayers, the minister spoke about the history and teachings of the Cause and, with great courtesy and respect, introduced the Master. The believers attending the services were elated. The Master rose from His seat and gave a comprehensive talk on the meaning of divine civilization. He presented the Baha’i teachings and spoke about the Revelation of Baha’u’llah and the unification of humankind. The audience sat spell- bound like iguanas sitting in the sun, [1] overwhelmed by the Master's talk, especially at the end when the Master chanted a prayer in a most melodious voice. The prayer greatly affected the hearts of the listeners. As He left the church, group after group rushed towards Him. The Baha’is sang 'Allah-u-Abha and many asked for His blessings. From among the crowd a woman's voice was heard. Tears poured from her eyes as she held fast to the hem of the Master's robe. She was so overcome she could not speak. The Master showered her with His love and kindness and calmed her with loving words of assurance. It was a great day and a most impressive meeting. Not one of the two thousand people was disappointed and everyone left smiling in warm appreciation. 
(Mahmud’s Diary)
[1]That is, they were awe-inspired. This is an allusion to a Persian proverb. When the iguana hunts flies, it sits on s rock facing the sun. In Persian, an iguana is called aftab parast, ‘sun worshipper’]