Tag Archives: Baha’i

A Baha’i Reflection on the Beauty of God’s Creation

On December 2, 2015, Carol Zandieh offered the following reflection on the glory of God and creation at the Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is of Harrisburg, a PA IPL member congregation.

The Words of God in the Baha’i Holy Scripture as revealed by Baha’u’llah, meaning the Glory of God, teaches that:

peacockGod created the universe and all of its creatures. To every creature, He has given one of His attributes, that is why we see His signs in every created thing. But He has given all of His attributes to humans and has commanded us to be the custodians of the earth. Now I would like to share a passage with you.

“All praise to the unity of God, and all honor to Him, the Sovereign Lord, the Incomparable and All-Glorious Ruler of the universe, Who, out of utter nothingness, has created the reality of all things, Who, from naught, has brought into being the most refined and subtle elements of His creation, and Who, rescuing His creatures from the abasement of remoteness and the pearls of ultimate extinction, has received them into His kingdom of incorruptible glory. Nothing short of His all-encompassing grace, His all-pervading mercy, could have possibly achieved it. How could it, otherwise, have been possible for sheer nothingness to have acquired by itself the worthiness and capacity to emerge from its state of non-existence into the realm of being?

“Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He, through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him—a capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation…Upon the inmost reality of each and every created thing, He has shed the light of one of His names, and made it a recipient of the glory of one of His attributes. Upon the reality of man, however, He has focused the radiance of all of His names and attributes and made it a mirror of His own Self. Alone, of all created things, man has been singled out for so great a favor, so enduring a bounty.”

Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 64-65

I would like to end with a prayer that was revealed by Baha’u’llah, especially for all parts of the earth, to remind us that we are the custodians and keepers of the earth.

“Blessed is the spot, and the house, and the place,

and the city, and the heart, and the mountain,

and the refuge, and the cave, and the valley,

and the land, and the sea, and the island,

and the meadow where mention of God

hath been made and His praise glorified.”

Baha’i Prayers, title page

_______________________________

Above image is Copyright © Bahá’í International Community, and is used courtesy of the Bahá’í Media Bank.

HARRISBURG: First 100 hours climate vigil

evening prayer candlesThe Baha’is of Harrisburg warmly invite people of any faith to join them for Devotions from 10:30-11:00am for unity and advancement of the cause of Stewardship and safeguarding of the Environment, including the all-voices prayer shared by those planning national climate vigils during this time.

Following the time of devotions, we will move into Discussion:11:00-noon, also open to all.

Praying with Paris — in Philadelphia and Harrisburg

The Paris climate talks (the 21st such talks) began on Monday, November 30.  People around the world held vigils and marches on 11/29 and 11/30 to show our leaders that we are with them in spirit, supporting the difficult, urgent, vital work that they are engaged in.  The people’s voices —including faith voices— have been vital in getting international leaders as far along as we are.

Check back here for a one-a-day series of actions and solutions from now until 12/11.

HarrisburgVigilMarch.11.29.2015In HARRISBURG, a multi-faith service hosted by Grace United Methodist Church was attended by about 120 people, and  made the evening news.  News coverage embedded at the bottom of this page (these links can expire quickly!)

Inspiring speakers included  Professor John Dernbach  (himself a Paris Summit delegate) and former PA Senator Franklin Kury (the author of Article1, Section 27 of our PA Constitution, and the recipient of our first PA IPL Visionary Award, back in 2011).   Father Jim Podlesny talked about the significance of the Pope’s encyclical and what it means for Paris.

 David Glasgow, music director of Unitarian Universalists of Cumberland Valley, provided opening music, with congregational singing of  We Would be One, This is My Song, and Blue Boat Home.    Harrisburg Drummers added color and energy.

Readings and reflections were offered by leaders from the Religion & Society Center, Baha’ís of Harrisburg, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of PA, Hadee Mosque, and PA IPL. 

The event concluded on the Capitol steps with a rousing speech by former pastor and climate activist, the Rev. Jerry Miller, along with other testimonies, more drumming, and singing of Let There Be Peace on Earth.

IMG_5098In PHILADELPHIA , PA IPL member congregation First United Methodist Church of Germantown  hosted an afternoon multi-faith vigil on Monday, 11/30.  The vigil and prayer was led by Rabbi Malkah Binah Klein, the Rev. Cheryl Pyrch, and song led by Daniella Forstater.  Participants from many local congregations, including the Sisters of St Joseph, the Germantown Jewish Centre, P’nai Or, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Unitarian Society of Germantown, host FUMCOGSt. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, the Shalom CenterSummit Presbyterian Church, and Good Samaritan Baptist Church and more!

in PARIS
Because of the attacks in Paris last week, planned marches and outdoor gatherings were not allowed, so the Place de la Republique filled with 10,000 pairs of shoes, “marching” without their owners.  Among them: Pope Francis’ shoes, and Ban Ki Moon’s shoes.

Nearly 10,000 people linked arms to form a human chain through Paris, stretched out along about 2km of the 3 km (2 mile) route of the planned march, rather than gathered in one spot.

Religious leaders delivered a multi-faith petition signed by nearly 1.8 million yesterday, and Cristina Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, broke out into a dance with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of South Africa, who was among those delivering the signatures to the talks.

HARRISBURG Fox43 coverage:

After Pope Week: Religous leaders standing shoulder-to-shoulder.

The Jewish Sabbath is on Saturday.  The Christian Sabbath is on Sunday.  Except for Seventh Day Adventists. Buddhists do not have a particular Sabbath Day.  We fast at different times, in different ways, for different reasons.  We have different beliefs about who leads, and how.

We could spend a lot of time of focusing on the differences in our faiths, but we are all Seekers.  We all turn to the wisdom and scripture of our faith traditions for hope, for solace, and for instruction.  We are all called to care for creation, to care for the most vulnerable people, and to work for justice.  Pope Francis released his encyclical, Laudato Si, in June.  In the anticipation of that event, in the build to his visit last week to the United States, and (in the climate change world) in the build to the international talks in Paris this December, many, many religious bodies and religious leaders have released statements from their traditions. (Jump to links)

These teachings are not new to Catholicism, nor are they new to other faith traditions. Recent statements from religious bodies are statements amplifying  Laudato Si : In Care of our Common Home with deep teachings and specific language from their own traditions.  It is time to offer all the wisdom we have, from all sectors, as we seek to find new and just ways to live in our Common Home.  Religious leaders recognize that. Continue reading

Preach In: Becoming Better Stewards of the Earth

Please join us for a presentation by a medical doctor from Physicians for Social Responsibility on Climate Change and Health, with explorations of Baha’i texts and teachings about stewardship.  People of all faith traditions are welcome — participate or observe respectfully as you are comfortable..  

004WHAT TO EXPECT:
We will say special prayers for the earth, read and reflect on the Baha’i Holy Writings on the Creation, ecological balance, and stewardship of the earth.  There will be a presentation on the Effect of the Climate change on our Health by a medical doctor from Physicians for Social Responsibility.

This is an informative program to assist us to do our part to respect, partake, safeguard the environment.  Therefore you are welcome to spread the word and invite anyone who is interested in such a program and topic.

NOTE: The Baha’is of Harrisburg held an event as scheduled during the Preach In weekend in February but slick roads and a discouraging forecast kept a number of people who had planned to attend home.  They have therefore arranged to offer the event again in May (almost always an ice-free month here in PA!).  People of all faith traditions are welcome.  

Using Preach-In as a Springboard

hbg bahai preach in 2014In 2014, the Baha’is of Harrisburg once more participated in the national IPL Preach In on Climate Change, but they decided to use the Preach-In materials as a springboard to go a little deeper this year.  They did a study series of relevant Baha’i scripture, then showed the Chasing Ice DVD twice — once in a public venue (a reservable library room they used for last year’s event) and then also convened at a member’s a home, where they could have a bit more time to both discuss what they had seen in depth. That meeting was on a weeknight at dinnertime — with Bring Your Own Pizza solving the dinnertime food challenge.*

The group reports: Together we studied the Baha’i Holy Scriptures on how to become better stewards of the earth on principles such as: origin of the universe, nature, ecological principles Continue reading