Service to Humanity: Ascension of Abdul-Baha

This Interfaith Devotional program focuses on ‘Abdu’l-Baha, son of Baha’u’llah and his dedicated life of service. 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.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá with a group of friends in Brooklyn, New York, June 1912

‘Abdu’l-Bahá with a group of friends in Brooklyn, New York, June 1912

Opening Prayer

Glory be to Thee, O God, for Thy manifestation of love to mankind! O Thou Who art our Life and Light, guide Thy servants in Thy way, and make us rich in Thee and free from all save Thee.

O God, teach us Thy Oneness and give us a realization of Thy Unity, that we may see no one save Thee. Thou art the Merciful and the Giver of bounty! O God, create in the hearts of Thy beloved the fire of Thy love, that it may consume the thought of everything save Thee. Reveal to us, O God, Thine exalted eternity – that Thou hast ever been and wilt ever be, and that there is no God save Thee. Verily, in Thee will we find comfort and strength.

Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh

First Reading

Without selfless service are no objectives fulfilled; In service lies the purest action.

Sikhism, Adi Granth Maru M.1

O ye lovers of God! Be kind to all peoples; care for every person; do all ye can to purify the hearts and minds of men; strive ye to gladden every soul. To every meadow be a shower of grace, to every tree the water of life; be as sweet musk to the sense of humankind, and to the ailing be a fresh, restoring breeze. Be pleasing waters to all those who thirst, a careful guide to all who have lost their way; be father and mother to the orphan, be loving sons and daughters to the old, be an abundant treasure to the poor. Think ye of love and good fellowship as the delights of heaven, think ye of hostility and hatred as the torments of hell. Indulge not your bodies with rest, but work with all your souls, and with all your hearts cry out and beg of God to grant you His succor and grace. Thus may ye make this world the Abha Paradise, and this globe of earth the parade ground of the realm on high.

Bahá’í Faith, `Abdu’l-Bahá

Music

Second Reading

Heaven is eternal and Earth everlasting. They can be eternal and everlasting because they do not exist for themselves, And for this reason can exist forever. Therefore the sage places himself in the background, but finds himself in the foreground. He puts himself away, and yet he always remains. Is it not because he has no personal interests? This is the reason why his personal interests are fulfilled.

Taoism, Tao Te Ching 7

Every imperfect soul is self-centered and thinketh only of his own good. But as his thoughts expand a little he will begin to think of the welfare and comfort of his family. If his ideas still more widen, his concern will be the felicity of his fellow citizens; and if still they widen, he will be thinking of the glory of his land and of his race. But when ideas and views reach the utmost degree of expansion and attain the stage of perfection, then will he be interested in the exaltation of humankind. …. Love ye all religions and all races with a love that is true and sincere and show that love through deeds…

Bahá’í Faith, `Abdu’l-Bahá

At the beginning, mankind and the obligation of selfless service were created together. “Through selfless service, you will always be fruitful and find the fulfillment of your desires”: this is the promise of the Creator…. Every selfless act, Arjuna, is born from the eternal, infinite Godhead. God is present in every act of service. All life turns on this law, … those who realize the God within are always satisfied. Having found the source of joy and fulfillment, they no longer seek happiness from the external world. … by devotion to selfless work one attains the supreme goal in life. Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind. … Perform all work carefully, guided by compassion.

Hinduism, Bhagavad Gita 3:10-26

O MY SERVANT!
The best of men are they that earn a livelihood by their calling and spend upon themselves and upon their kindred for the love of God, the Lord of all worlds.

Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh

Music

Third Reading

That is the Bounty whereof Allah gives Glad Tidings to His Servants who believe and do righteous deeds. Say: “No reward do I ask of you for this except the love of those near of kin.” And if any one earns any good, We shall give him an increase of good in respect thereof: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate service.

Islam, Qur’an Surah 42:23

Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Christianity, Matthew 20:25-28

O My servants! Be as resigned and submissive as the earth, that from the soil of your being there may blossom the fragrant, the holy and multicolored hyacinths of My knowledge. Be ablaze as the fire, that ye may burn away the veils of heedlessness and set aglow, through the quickening energies of the love of God, the chilled and wayward heart. Be light and untrammeled as the breeze, that ye may obtain admittance into the precincts of My court, My inviolable Sanctuary.

Bahá’í Faith,, Bahá’u’lláh

All men are responsible for one another.

Judaism, Talmud Sanhedrin 27b

The best of men are those who are useful to others.

Islam, Hadith of Bukhari

Rendering help to another is the function of all human beings.

Jainism, Tattvarthasutra 5:21

Music

Open Prayers

Music

Fourth Reading

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

Christianity, Galatians 6:2; 1 Corinthians 10:24

O SON OF MAN!
Deny not My servant should he ask anything from thee, for his face is My face; be then abashed before Me.

Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh

The sage does not accumulate for himself. The more he uses for others, the more he has himself. The more he gives to others, the more he possesses of his own. The Way of Heaven is to benefit others and not to injure. The Way of the sage is to act but not to compete.

Taoism, Tao Te Ching 81

Closing Prayer

O God, my God! Thou art my Hope and my Beloved, my highest Aim and Desire! With great humbleness and entire devotion I pray to Thee to make me a minaret of Thy love in Thy land, a lamp of Thy knowledge among Thy creatures, and a banner of divine bounty in Thy dominion. Number me with such of Thy servants as have detached themselves from everything but Thee, have sanctified themselves from the transitory things of this world, and have freed themselves from the promptings of the voicers of idle fancies. Let my heart be dilated with joy through the spirit of confirmation from Thy kingdom, and brighten my eyes by beholding the hosts of divine assistance descending successively upon me from the kingdom of Thine omnipotent glory. Thou art, in truth, the Almighty, the All-Glorious, the All-Powerful.

Bahá’í Faith, `Abdu’l-Bahá

Photo from Baha’i Media Bank
Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

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