Remembering The Departed

This Interfaith Devotional program focuses on prayers for those who have passed on to the spirit world. 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

O my God, the God of bounty and mercy! Thou art that King by Whose commanding word the whole creation hath been called into being; and Thou art that All-Bountiful One the doings of Whose servants have never hindered Him from showing forth His grace, nor have they frustrated the revelations of His bounty.

Suffer this servant, I beseech Thee, to attain unto that which is the cause of his salvation in every world of Thy worlds. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Most Powerful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

Baha’u’llah, Baha’i Faith

First Reading

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…

Christianity, Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

As ripe fruits are early in danger of falling, so mortals when born are always in danger of death. As all earthen vessels made by the potter end in being broken, so is the life of mortals. Both young and adult, both those who are fools and those who are wise, all fall into the power of death; all are subject to death.

Buddhist, Gospel of Buddha

All things pass. A sunrise does not last all morning. All things pass. A cloudburst does not last all day. All things pass. Nor a sunset all night. All things pass. What always changes? Earth, sky, thunder, mountain, water, wind, fire, lake… These change. And if these do not last, do man’s visions last? Do man’s illusions? Take things as they come. All things pass.

Taoism, Lao-Tzu

O SON OF BEING!
Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning; for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds.

Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah (Arabic Hidden Words)

Music

Second Reading

O SON OF THE SUPREME!
I have made death a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dost thou grieve? I made the light to shed on thee its splendor. Why dost thou veil thyself therefrom?

O SON OF MAN!
Sorrow not save that thou art far from Us. Rejoice not save that thou art drawing near and returning unto Us.

Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah (Arabic Hidden Words)

We follow the paths of the Stars, The Moon, the Sun and the endless Light, Moving around in their revolving circle forever. And Truthfulness in Thought, Word and Deed will place the Soul of the faithful one in the endless light of Eternal Life.

Zoroastrian, Zend Avesta

O God, the Strength of the weak, the Comfort of the sorrowful, the Friend of the lonely; let not sorrow overwhelm Thy children, nor anguish of heart turn them from Thee. Grant that they may continue in Thy service and in all godly living, until at length they also attain unto fullness of life before Thy face.

Christianity, Methodist Prayer

From the unreal lead me to the Real!
From darkness lead me to light!
From death lead me to immortality!

Hinduism, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.28

Know thou that every hearing ear, if kept pure and undefiled, must, at all times and from every direction, hearken to the voice that uttereth these holy words: “Verily, we are God’s, and to Him shall we return.” The mysteries of man’s physical death and of his return have not been divulged, and still remain unread… Death proffereth unto every confident believer the cup that is life indeed. It bestoweth joy, and is the bearer of gladness. It conferreth the gift of everlasting life.

Baha’i Faith, Bahá’u’lláh

Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter. It will endure as long as the Kingdom of God, His sovereignty, His dominion and power will endure. It will manifest the signs of God and His attributes, and will reveal His loving-kindness and bounty. The movement of My Pen is stilled when it attempteth to befittingly describe the loftiness and glory of so exalted a station. The honor with which the Hand of Mercy will invest the soul is such as no tongue can adequately reveal, nor any other earthly agency describe. Blessed is the soul which, at the hour of its separation from the body, is sanctified from the vain imaginings of the peoples of the world. Such a soul liveth and moveth in accordance with the Will of its Creator, and entereth the all-highest Paradise.

Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah

Music

Third Reading

The world beyond is as different from this world as this world is different from that of the child while still in the womb of its mother. When the soul attaineth the Presence of God, it will assume the form that best befitteth its immortality and is worthy of its celestial habitation.

Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah

Not like this world is the World to Come. In the World to Come there is neither eating nor drinking, nor procreation of children or business transactions, no envy or hatred or rivalry; but the righteous sit enthroned, their crowns on their heads, and enjoy the luster of the Divine Splendor

Judaism. Talmud, Berakot 17a

Give them rest with the devout and the just, in the place of the pasture of rest and of refreshment, of waters in the paradise of delight; whence grief and pain and sighing have fled away.

Christian prayer

In heaven there is no fear at all. Thou, O Death, art not there, nor in that place does the thought of growing old make one tremble. There, free from hunger and from thirst, and far from the reach of sorrow, all rejoice and are glad.

Hindu, Katha Upanishad

And those Foremost [in faith] will be Foremost [in the hereafter]. These will be those nearest to God; In Gardens of Bliss; A number of people from those of old, and a few from those of later times… Like unto pearls well-guarded: A reward for the deeds of their past life. No frivolity will they hear therein, nor any taint of ill, Only the saying “Peace! Peace!”

Islam. Qur’an 56.10-27

Music

Open Prayers

Music

Fourth Reading

The nature of the soul after death can never be described, nor is it meet and permissible to reveal its whole character to the eyes of men. The Prophets and Messengers of God have been sent down for the sole purpose of guiding mankind to the straight Path of Truth. The purpose underlying Their revelation hath been to educate all men, that they may, at the hour of death, ascend, in the utmost purity and sanctity and with absolute detachment, to the throne of the Most High. The light which these souls radiate is responsible for the progress of the world and the advancement of its peoples.

Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah

Closing Prayer

O my God! O Thou forgiver of sins, bestower of gifts, dispeller of afflictions! Verily, I beseech Thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world. O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendors on the loftiest mount.

Baha’i Faith, Abdu’l-Bahá

Photo by Celestine Ngulube on Unsplash

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