Tonight our local Baha’i community held its regular meeting called the nineteen day feast. One of the readings in the spiritual portion of the program seemed to summarize the whole message in Hasten Forth, so I am happy to share it on this blog along with other exciting news about the book. By the way, the current Baha’i month is named Perfections (or Kamal in Arabic), so we selected readings and prayers on this theme.
This is the century of the Blessed Perfection! This is the cycle of the light of His beauty! This is the consummate day of all the Prophets! These are the days of seed sowing. These are the days of tree planting. The bountiful bestowals of God are successive. He who sows a seed in this day will behold his reward in the fruits and harvest of the heavenly Kingdom. This timely seed, when planted in the hearts of the beloved of God, will be watered by showers of divine mercy and warmed by the sunshine of divine love. Its fruitage and flower shall be the solidarity of mankind, the perfection of justice and the praiseworthy attributes of heaven manifest in humanity. All who sow such a seed and plant such a tree according to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh shall surely witness this divine outcome in the degrees of its perfection and will attain unto the good pleasure of the Merciful One.
– `Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 8
Thinking about the bestowals of God not only brought to mind finishing the book we’ve devoted our time and energy to for the past three years, it also made me think of yesterday’s devotional meeting in our home. We host the gathering every Friday evening and, as we always tell our guests, we nourish our bodies (dinner) and then nourish our souls (prayers). Yesterday we had a full table and, afterwards, living room. Our friend from Mexico helped us make posole, an authentic Mexican dish, and later our friend from Yemen showed us her wedding video while we played with her adorable 10 month old baby girl. There were guests from three different religions, and the selections for the devotions came from the Bible, the Quran and Baha’i Writings. We were all so different, but it felt like we were with family as we sat together, some of us on the carpet so we could be eye level with the baby, feeling relaxed and sharing our lives. This is what we always dreamed our devotional meetings would be: an opportunity for neighbors, friends and families to be able to be together in a positive, spiritual environment. The seeds for this weekly gathering were planted long ago. The devotion meeting has been held ever week without fail for two years. Sometimes there were only two people (and once only one!) but we always made sure that the prayers were being sent out into the community on their regular schedule. This, we believe, is part of the seed sowing.
Speaking of seed sowing… the Hasten Forth photo book has now blossomed from a digital file on our computer into pallets full of printed copies! The first shipment arrived this week and we have sent off the pre-sale orders that many kind souls placed in advance. Please let us know when they arrive and give us your impressions. The next shipment is arriving in late August. We’re going to begin blogging about using the book to strike up conversations about various aspects of the Baha’i Faith and the changeless Faith of God.
As I mentioned earlier, the above quote is one of the overarching themes in the chapters of Hasten Forth. We shared the book with last night’s guests and tonight’s Feast attendees. We can’t wait to share it with you!