Interfaith Update – Santa Monica Daily Press

Editor’s Note: The Santa Monica Daily Press has partnered with the Interfaith Council to provide monthly updates on the city’s spiritual community.

This time is of spiritual importance to several of our faith communities. It is a time of retold stories that elevate and renew faith, hope and joy, and are filled with light; Hannukka for the Jewish faith recalls how the smallest light can overcome darkness. For many Buddhists, Bodhi Day tells of the light of enlightenment after detachment and meditation. Our SGI community ended November with a profound day: November 28th – SGI Nichiren Buddhist Day of Spiritual Independence. You move into December in unity with all of us in concern for peace and security for our planet. Christmas and also Kwanzaa remind of the miracle in all our faiths of birth and rebirth in our world, of light and joy and the possibility of ‘peace on earth’ through faith, steadfastness and cooperation in the spirit of goodwill towards all of humanity.

For the Baha’i Faith, the symbols found in the stories of each faith resonate in many ways. A symbol that combines praise and light is a title for Bahá’u’lláh and God’s revelation, the Greatest Bell. The greatest bell from paradise, in the heart of heaven, rings out in light and glory, the good news of ‘peace on earth’, which repeats to all people the joy of community and good will, in a call to unity and unity show with all humanity of all faiths.

For Bahá’ís this call comes for light in the darkness, joy in sacrifice for others, belief in the power of unity as a diffuser of that light with a command, a covenant that is common to all beliefs, with the power of the spirit, like always thought, and take concrete steps.

Our prime example of concrete service based on spiritual truth is’ Abdul’-Baha. Born in Persia (now Iran) in 1844, ‘Abdul’-Baha was the eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet, the founder of the Bahá’í faith. He chose this title which means The Servant of Baha or the Glory.

On December 2, 1912 in New York City, the following words, appropriate for many religions of this time of year of exultation and joy, were among the closing words of ‘Abdul’-Baha as he prepared to embark on his eleven month journey into the World end west a few days later.

“You must show total love and affection to all of humanity. Do not rise above others, but regard all as your equals and acknowledge them as servants of a god. Know that God is merciful to all; Therefore, love everyone from the bottom of your heart, draw all religious before yourselves, be filled with love for every race and be kind to people of all nationalities … Act in such a way that your heart is free from hate. Don’t let anyone offend your heart. If someone commits a mistake and injustice to you, you must forgive them immediately. “

Bahá’u’lláh had declared: “In this age a new life is stirring in all the peoples of the earth.” He taught: “The peoples of the world, regardless of race or religion, draw their inspiration from a heavenly source and are the subjects of a god”; that “You are the fruit of a tree and the leaves of a branch. Treat the other with the greatest love and harmony, with kindness and fellowship “, and that” this is the unchanging faith of God, eternally in the past, eternally in the future “.

The fundamental teachings of Bahá’u’lláh that ‘Abdul’-Bahá spread on His journey to the West are the subject of a community-building process in Santa Monica and around the world. Baha’i and her friends participate in a community-building process that cultivates love and translates it into action.

Classes for children enable the youngest members of a community to practice their God-given qualities such as kindness, generosity, patience, and compassion.

Youth and pre-teens groups develop the young people’s pronounced sense of justice, the growing awareness and the increased interest in profound questions. Through storytelling, discussions, recreational activities, art and service projects, participants build healthy and productive behavior patterns. They build judgment and decision-making skills and learn to respond to the needs of their communities.

Study groups are for adults and older teenagers. They combine the study of the holy texts of the Baha’i with service.

Prayer meetings bring friends, families and neighbors together in a spirit of worship and nourish the soul through prayer, song and contemplation.

The environment, health and racial justice are among the initiatives in which Baha’i are heavily involved locally and around the world.

On December 2, 1912, ‘Abdul’-Baha ended his address with these words: “In short, let each of you be like a lamp shining with the light of the virtues of the human world … Be enlightened, be spiritual”, be divine, be glorious, be alive of God … “

In a spirit of our loving appreciation for you, we, the Baha’i of the Santa Monica area, offer the same words to each of you as a token of our love for you as we celebrate this joyful time of working together to build our neighborhoods, make our nation and the world a better place Location. We offer our deepest love to you, your families and communities, and eagerly seek your friendship as we seek to create lasting change for all through cooperation, love, and true justice.

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