Progressive Revelation

This Interfaith Devotional program focuses on the unfolding nature of religion—how God’s guidance to humankind has been progressively revealed through His Messengers. These readings have been selected from various religious traditions. Please come and join us on Sundays at 9:30 am at the Beaverton Baha’i Center.

Opening Prayer

In the Name of God, the Most High!

Lauded and glorified art Thou, Lord, God Omnipotent! Thou before Whose wisdom the wise falleth short and faileth, before Whose knowledge the learned confesseth his ignorance, before Whose might the strong waxeth weak, before Whose wealth the rich testifieth to his poverty, before Whose light the enlightened is lost in darkness, toward the shrine of Whose knowledge turneth the essence of all understanding and around the sanctuary of Whose presence circle the souls of all mankind. How then can I sing and tell of Thine Essence, which the wisdom of the wise and the learning of the learned have failed to comprehend, inasmuch as no man can sing that which he understandeth not, nor recount that unto which he cannot attain, whilst Thou hast been from everlasting the Inaccessible, the Unsearchable. Powerless though I be to rise to the heavens of Thy glory and soar in the realms of Thy knowledge, I can but recount Thy tokens that tell of Thy glorious handiwork.

By Thy Glory! O Beloved of all hearts, Thou that alone canst still the pangs of yearning for Thee! Though all the dwellers of heaven and earth unite to glorify the least of Thy signs, wherein and whereby Thou hast revealed Thyself, yet would they fail, how much more to praise Thy holy Word, the creator of all Thy tokens. All praise and glory be to Thee, Thou of Whom all things have testified that Thou art one and there is none other God but Thee, Who hast been from everlasting exalted above all peer or likeness and to everlasting shalt remain the same. All kings are but Thy servants and all beings, visible and invisible, as naught before Thee. There is none other God but Thee, the Gracious, the Powerful, the Most High.

Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh

First Reading

Wherever there is declining righteousness and the rise of irreligion, it is then that I send forth My Spirit. For the salvation of the good, the destruction of the wicked, and for firmly establishing true religion, I manifest myself from age to age.

Hinduism, Bhagavad-Gita, 4.7-8

Can one … ever seriously imagine that …the portal of God’s infinite guidance can ever be closed in the face of men? Can he ever conceive for these Divine Luminaries, these resplendent Lights either a beginning or an end? There can be no doubt whatever that if for one moment the tide of His mercy and grace were to be withheld from the world, it would completely perish. For this reason, from the beginning that hath no beginning the portals of Divine mercy have been flung open to the face of all created things, and the clouds of Truth will continue to the end that hath no end to rain on the soil of human capacity, reality and personality their favors and bounties. Such hath been God’s method continued from everlasting to everlasting.

Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh

Music

Second Reading

The Qur’an is a Book which We have sent down, bringing blessings and confirming the revelations which came before it. We ever send revelations, as a Mercy from thy Lord, for he hears and knows all things, the Lord of the heavens and the earth and all between them, if ye but have assured faith.

Islam, Quran, Surah 6:1; 44:5-8

Blessed souls whether Moses, Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, or Muhammad were the cause of the illumination of the world of humanity. … We must set aside bias and prejudice. … We ourselves must investigate reality and be fair in judgment.

Bahá’í Faith, ‘Abdu’l Bahá

Jesus said to them, “Verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

Christianity, John 8:58

As a token of His mercy, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God. Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God, and whoso testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath testified to the truth of God Himself.

Every one of them is the Way of God that connecteth this world with the realms above, and the Standard of His Truth unto every one in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. They are the Manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His glory.

…all the Prophets of God, whenever made manifest unto the peoples of the world, have invariably foretold the coming of yet another Prophet after them, and have established such signs as would herald the advent of the future Dispensation. To this the records of all sacred books bear witness.

Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh

Music

Third Reading

The divine Manifestations since the day of Adam have striven to unite humanity so that all may be accounted as one soul. The function and purpose of a shepherd is to gather and not disperse his flock. The prophets of God have been divine shepherds of humanity. … They have laid the foundation of the oneness of God and summoned all to universal peace. All these holy, divine Manifestations are one. They have served one God, promulgated the same truth, founded the same institutions and reflected the same light. Their appearances have been successive and correlated; each one has announced and extolled the one who was to follow and all laid the foundation of reality. They summoned and invited the people to love and make the human world a mirror of the Word of God. Therefore the divine religions they established have one foundation; their teachings, proofs and evidences are one; in name and form they differ but in reality they agree and are the same.

Bahá’í Faith, ‘Abdu’l Bahá

Thus there have been many holy Manifestations of God. One thousand years ago, two hundred thousand years ago, one million years ago the bounty of God was flowing, the radiance of God was shining, the dominion of God was existing.

Bahá’í Faith, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Music

Open Prayers

Music

Closing Prayer

O Thou Who art the Lord of grace abounding! Let Thy celestial aid surround those who love Thee and bestow upon us the gifts and the bounties Thou dost possess. Be Thou sufficient unto us of all things, forgive our sins and have mercy upon us. Thou art Our Lord and the Lord of all created things. No one else do we invoke but Thee and naught do we beseech but Thy favours. Thou art the Lord of bounty and grace, invincible in Thy power and the most skillful in Thy designs. No God is there but Thee, the All-Possessing, the Most Exalted. Confer Thy blessings, O my Lord, upon the Messengers, the holy ones and the righteous. Verily Thou art God, the Peerless, the All-Compelling.

Bahá’í Faith, The Báb

Photo by Austin D on Unsplash

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