Service to Humanity: Labor Day

This Interfaith Devotional program focuses on the importance of service to others and the effect it has on the soul. 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 Thou merciful God!
O Thou Who art mighty and powerful! O Thou most kind Father!
These servants have gathered together, turning to Thee, supplicating Thy threshold, desiring Thine endless bounties from Thy great assurance. They have no purpose save Thy good pleasure. They have no intention save service to the world of humanity. O God! Make this assemblage radiant. Make the hearts merciful. Confer the bounties of the Holy Spirit. Endow them with a power from heaven. Bless them with heavenly minds. Increase their sincerity, so that with all humility and contrition they may turn to Thy kingdom and be occupied with service to the world of humanity. May each one become a radiant candle. May each one become a brilliant star. May each one become beautiful in color and redolent of fragrance in the Kingdom of God. O kind Father! Confer Thy blessings. Consider not our shortcomings. Shelter us under Thy protection. Remember not our sins. Heal us with Thy mercy. We are weak; Thou art mighty. We are poor; Thou art rich. We are sick; Thou art the Physician. We are needy; Thou art most generous. O God! Endow us with Thy providence. Thou art the Powerful. Thou art the Giver. Thou art the Beneficent.

Bahá’í Faith, `Abdu’l-Bahá

First Reading

One who serves and seeks no recompense Finds union with the Lord. Such a servant alone takes the Master’s guidance, says Nanak, As on him is divine grace.

Sikhism, Adi Granth, Sukhmani 18, M.5

By love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Christianity, Galatians 5:13-14

Jesus Christ said `Ye must be born again’ so that divine Life may spring anew within you. Be kind to all around and serve one another; love to be just and true in all your dealings; pray always and so live your life that sorrow cannot touch you. Look upon the people of your own race and those of other races as members of one organism; sons of the same Father; let it be known by your behavior that you are indeed the people of God.

God is the helper of those souls whose aim is to serve humanity and whose efforts and endeavors are devoted to the good and betterment of all mankind. …Service in love for mankind is unity with God. He who serves has already entered the Kingdom and is seated at the right hand of his Lord.

Bahá’í Faith, `Abdu’l-Bahá


Second Reading

Not from sacrifice, nor penance, nor gift-giving, nor with prayer shall any behold Me. Only by fullest service, perfect faith, and uttermost surrender am I known and seen, and entered into! Who doeth all for Me; who findeth Me In all; adoreth always; loveth all which I have made, and loveth Me, for Love’s sole end: That man, unto Me doth wend.

Strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world; by devotion to self-less work one attains the supreme goal in life. Do your work with the welfare of others always in mind…

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…

Hinduism, Bhagavad-Gita

…order your lives in accordance with the first principle of the divine teaching, which is love. Service to humanity is service to God. Let the love and light of the Kingdom radiate through you until all who look upon you shall be illumined by its reflection. Be as stars, brilliant and sparkling in the loftiness of their heavenly station.

Bahá’í Faith, `Abdu’l-Bahá

Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Christianity, Philippians 2.3-4

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

Sikhism, Adi Granth, Maru, M.1

This is the century of the Blessed Perfection! This is the cycle of the light of His beauty! This is the consummate day of all the Prophets! These are the days of seed sowing. These are the days of tree planting. The bountiful bestowals of God are successive. He who sows a seed in this day will behold his reward in the fruits and harvest of the heavenly Kingdom.

…The planting of trees is easy, but their cultivation and training to strengthen their roots and to make them firm is difficult. Now, as thou art a firm tree, thou shalt certainly grow and send out branches, leaves and blossoms and bear fruits. These branches, leaves, blossoms and fruits are the souls who may be guided, through the providence of God, by thee. Therefore, thou art confirmed and strengthened.

Bahá’í Faith, `Abdu’l-Bahá


Third Reading

Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Judaism, Psalm 100:2-5

Make haste in doing good; check your mind from evil; for the mind of him who is slow in doing meritorious actions delights in evil. Should a person commit evil, he should not do it again and again; he should not find pleasure therein: painful is the accumulation of evil. Should a person perform a meritorious action, he should do it again and again; he should find pleasure therein: blissful is the accumulation of merit.

Buddhism, Dhammapada 116-18

Life in this mortal world will quickly come to an end, and this earthly glory, wealth, comfort and happiness will soon vanish and be no more. Summon ye the people to God and call the souls to the manners and conduct of the Supreme Concourse. To the orphans be ye kind fathers, and to the unfortunate a refuge and shelter. To the poor be a treasure of wealth, and to the sick a remedy and healing. Be a helper of every oppressed one, the protector of every destitute one, be ye ever mindful to serve any soul of mankind. Attach no importance to self-seeking, rejection, arrogance, oppression and enmity. Heed them not. Deal in the contrary way. Be kind in truth, not only in appearance and outwardly. Every soul of the friends of God must concentrate his mind on this, that he may manifest the mercy of God and the bounty of the Forgiving One. He must do good to every soul whom he encounters, and render benefit to him, becoming the cause of improving the morals and correcting the thoughts so that the light of guidance may shine forth and the bounty of His Holiness the Merciful One may encompass. Love is light in whatsoever house it may shine.

Bahá’í Faith, `Abdu’l-Bahá


Open Prayers


Closing Prayer

O my God! O my God!
These are servants who have turned to Thy Kingdom and hearkened unto Thy voice. Their hearts were dilated by Thy call, responded unto Thy summons, were attracted unto Thy beauty, acknowledged Thy proofs, believed in Thy signs, confessed Thy Oneness and arose for the service of Thy Cause and the promotion of Thy Word. O Lord! O Lord! Make them lamps of guidance, lights glistening in the supreme apex, sparkling stars in heaven, holy angels moving on earth and thriving trees bearing delicious and fragrant fruits. O Lord! O Lord! Purify their qualities, clarify their consciousness, cleanse their hearts and illumine their faces. Verily Thou art the Powerful, the Precious, the Protecting!

Bahá’í Faith, `Abdu’l-Bahá

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

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