From the foreword written by Kiser Barnes:
The very title, Hasten Forth, arouses wonder. It seems fitting for this engaging book, in that it gives it a practical, enabling quality. It is drawn from the great Tablet of Carmel, which Bahá’u’lláh revealed on one of His visits to God’s holy mountain. …
It might also delight readers of a book meant to inspire learning and action to know that, in the metaphoric language of revelation, “Hasten Forth” applies directly to Bahá’ís as well. The Universal House of Justice has written: “Carmel is astir with the wonders of His grace as she responds to the redemptive call He raised in the Tablet bearing her name… The friends … have reaffirmed their pledge to respond to this divine longing. May their exploits in the Name of Bahá scatter more widely the fragrance of His Revelation.” (Letter to the Bahá’ís of the World, 16 January 2001.)
Artistic expression: an essential element of enhancing spiritual development for service.
“All Art is a gift of the Holy Spirit,” are the worlds of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh. He describes the station of the arts in the youngest of the great world religions. “These gifts are fulfilling their highest purpose, when showing forth the praise of God.”
Showing forth God’s praise was the motivation to undertake this project. The creators of the book hope that the pages herein may provide, in their own small way, not merely a narrative, but also meditation; not only a companion for exploring the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith, but actually inspire and incite to action.
As the title, Hasten Forth, suggests, the book celebrates the divine call to action to which Bahá’ís the world over are striving to respond. Inspiration for this action comes from forming a deep connection with what transcends the mundane. Here is one effort to employ the arts in striving towards this goal.
Drawing on the transforming power of the Holy Writings, the selection of the passages attempts to center the reader’s thoughts on spiritual themes such as prayer, the Mystery of God, the power of God’s Manifestations, the search for true knowledge and the duty to serve humanity.
Photographs of the Holy Paces at the religious community’s spiritual and administrative world center aim to transport viewers on a sort of virtual pilgrimage. These places were named to the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2008, designating their “outstanding universal value,” similar to the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, and Stonehenge, the Vatican, the Old City of Jerusalem, and so on. The Bahá’í sites are the first connected with a religious tradition born in modern times to be added to the list.
In addition to the photographs and extracts from Sacred Texts, the book contains captions that give a brief narration of the Faith’s early history, which Bahá’ís consider the cultural heritage of the entire planet.