Mahmud writes: "After prayer and meditation, the beloved Master, accompanied by several of the friends, went to Mr Chase's grave. The tram stopped near the cemetery, which is located a few miles from the city. The Master alighted and walked towards the grave with dignified solemnity and serenity. He went directly to the grave site without asking directions from anyone. He praised the site and the lushness of the trees and grass. He stood there for a few minutes leaning against a nearby tree. He then stood near the grave of that distinguished man and spread over it bouquets of flowers, adorning that sanctified soil with such love and affection that bystanders were astonished. Facing in the direction of the Holy Land, the Master chanted Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet of Visitation. All stood in solemn reverence behind Him. After chanting the Tablet of Visitation, He recited a prayer in Arabic for the forgiveness of the departed soul. He then gave a short account of this faithful believer's services, steadfastness and forbearance. Before He left, He placed His forehead on the grave and kissed it. Tears flowed from the eyes of the believers as they bowed before that sacred spot, each one longing to attain to that sublime and exalted station. The spot became an abode of lovers.
In the world of existence, civilization is found to be of two kinds: material civilization and spiritual civilization. Philosophers founded the former while the divine Prophets established the latter. For instance, the philosophers of Greece established a material civilization whereas Christ established a spiritual civilization. Material civilization is the cause of worldly prosperity but divine civilization is the means of eternal prosperity. If divine civilization, which is all-encompassing, is established, then material civilization will also attain perfection. When spiritual perfection is attained, then physical perfection is a certainty. Material civilization alone does not suffice and does not become the means of acquiring spiritual virtues. Rather, it leads to an increase in wars and disputes and becomes the cause of bloodshed and ruin. Despite all this, it is surprising that divine civilization has been completely forgotten and the people are constantly submerged in a sea of materialism. This is why night and day they have no peace and are engaged in war and killing. Every day there is bloodshed and ruin, suffering and distress, preparation for a universal war and the destruction of mankind.
In the afternoon He spoke to a larger crowd about the teachings of the Supreme Pen and the greatness of the Bahá'í Cause. In the course of His talk, He said:
If you desire the nearness of God, you must sever yourself from everything and become purified and sanctified from the dross of this transitory world. You must become submerged in the sea of the love of God. You must occupy your time with His mention and praise. Bahá'u'lláh alone must be the Beloved of the world. Observe: until the disciples of Christ renounced themselves they did not resuscitate the world. Thus, you must always be occupied with the mention of God and in spreading the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.
Later some of the elite and wealthy came to see Him. They were fascinated and attracted to Him and immensely pleased to be in His presence.
At the evening meeting He spoke on the eternal benefits resulting from the gatherings of the friends, encouraged them to render service to the Cause of God and to turn themselves to the Kingdom of the Almighty Lord. At the conclusion of the meeting the Master was so exhausted that He could not even take supper. We left a little cheese and bread in His room so that He could have it if He got hungry during the night. (Often His food was as simple as this.) He usually took His meals in the dining room of the hotel but it would sometimes be brought to His room."
We yearn to be in that "spot" that is the abode of lovers--don't we? And too often, it alludes us.
The stout-hearted Thornton Chase, surnamed Thabit (Steadfast) by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and designated by Him “the first American believer,” who became a convert to the Faith in 1894,Thornton Chase, the first Western Christian to embrace the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant)
As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá crossed America from east to west in 1912, Thornton Chase lay on his death-bed, and when the Master reached the shores of the Pacific, Chase was dead. When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá learned of his death in San Francisco, and a fortnight later stood at the graveside of this steadfast disciple in Inglewood Cemetery, Los Angeles, He said:
"This revered personage was the first Bahá’í in America. He served the Cause faithfully and his services will ever be remembered throughout future ages and cycles . . .For the present his worth is not known, but in the future it will be inestimably dear. His sun will ever be shining, his star will ever bestow the light. The people will honor this grave. Therefore, the friends of God must visit this grave and on my behalf bring flowers and seek the sublimity of the spiritual station for him . . .
This personage will not be forgotten"
H. M. Balyuzi: Abdu’l-Bahá--
The Centre of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh pg 66
The Centre of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh pg 66