Tests: Veterans’ Day

This Interfaith Devotional program focuses on tests and the nobility of accepting them with dignity and grace. 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

Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! Every man of insight confesseth Thy sovereignty and Thy dominion, and every discerning eye perceiveth the greatness of Thy majesty and the compelling power of Thy might. The winds of tests are powerless to hold back them that enjoy near access to Thee from setting their faces towards the horizon of Thy glory, and the tempests of trials must fail to draw away and hinder such as are wholly devoted to Thy will from approaching Thy court. Methinks, the lamp of Thy love is burning in their hearts, and the light of Thy tenderness is lit within their breasts. Adversities are incapable of estranging them from Thy Cause, and the vicissitudes of fortune can never cause them to stray from Thy pleasure.

I beseech Thee, O my God, by them and by the sighs which their hearts utter in their separation from Thee, to keep them safe from the mischief of Thine adversaries, and to nourish their souls with what Thou hast ordained for Thy loved ones on whom shall come no fear and who shall not be put to grief.

Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh

First Reading

Do men imagine that they will be left at ease because they say, We believe, and will not be tested with affliction? Lo! We tested those who were before you. Thus Allah knoweth those who are sincere, and knoweth those who feign.

Islam, Qur’an Surah 29:2-3

The necessity and the particularity of the assured and believing ones is to be firm in the Cause of God and withstand the hidden and evident tests. Thanks be to God that you are distinguished and made eminent by this blessing. Anybody can be happy in the state of comfort, ease, health, success, pleasure and joy; but if one will be happy and contented in the time of trouble, hardship and prevailing disease, it is the proof of nobility.

Bahá’í Faith, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Music

Second Reading

How rare are those humble beings in this world, whom the Lord tests and places in His Treasury. They rise above social status and color, and rid themselves of possessiveness and greed. Attuned to the Naam, the Name of the Lord, they are like immaculate sacred shrines; they are rid of the pain and pollution of egotism.

Sikhism, Shri Guru Granth Sahib

That We may test them thereby, and whoso turneth away from the remembrance of his Lord; He will thrust him into ever-growing torment.

Islam, Qur’an Surah 72:17

And verily We shall try you till We know those of you who strive hard for the cause of Allah and the steadfast, and till We test your record.

Islam, Qur’an Surah 47:31

Were you to ponder, but for a while, these utterances in your heart, you would surely find the portals of understanding unlocked before your face, and would behold all knowledge and the mysteries thereof unveiled before your eyes. Such things take place only that the souls of men may develop and be delivered from the prison-cage of self and desire. Otherwise, that ideal King hath, throughout eternity, been in His Essence independent of the comprehension of all beings, and will continue, for ever, in His own Being to be exalted above the adoration of every soul. A single breeze of His affluence doth suffice to adorn all mankind with the robe of wealth; and one drop out of the ocean of His bountiful grace is enough to confer upon all beings the glory of everlasting life. But inasmuch as the divine Purpose hath decreed that the true should be known from the false, and the sun from the shadow, He hath, therefore, in every season sent down upon mankind the showers of tests from His realm of glory.

Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh

Music

Third Reading

The Appraiser Himself appraises. He Himself tests upon His Touchstone, and He Himself estimates the value. God Himself, the Merciful Lord, grants His Grace. The Gardener pervades and permeates each and every heart. The pure, primal, detached Lord abides within all. The Guru, the Lord Incarnate, leads us to meet the Lord God. God is wise and all-knowing; He purges men of their pride.

Eradicating duality, the One Lord reveals Himself. Such a being remains unattached amidst hope, singing the Praise of the Immaculate Lord, who has no ancestry. Eradicating egotism, he obtains the peace of the Shabad.

Sikhism, Shri Guru Granth Sahib

I adjure Thee by Thy might, O my God! Let no harm beset me in times of tests, and in moments of heedlessness guide my steps aright through Thine inspiration. Thou art God, potent art Thou to do what Thou desirest. No one can withstand Thy Will or thwart Thy Purpose.

Bahá’í Faith, The Báb

Hath there come upon man ever any period of time in which he was a thing unremembered? Lo! We create man from a drop of thickened fluid to test him; so We make him hearing, knowing. Lo! We have shown him the way, whether he be grateful or disbelieving.

Islam, Qur’an Surah 76:1-3

Besides all this, prayer and fasting is the cause of awakening and mindfulness and conducive to protection and preservation from tests.

Bahá’í Faith, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

And if God had pleased He had surely made you all one people; but He would test you by what He hath given to each. Be emulous, then, in good deeds.

Islam, Qur’an Surah 5

Music

Open Prayers

Music

Fourth Reading

… concerning the tests that have come upon thee. To the sincere ones, tests are as a gift from God, the Exalted, for a heroic person hasteneth, with the utmost joy and gladness, to the tests …, but the coward is afraid and trembles and utters moaning and lamentation. Likewise, an expert student prepareth and memorizeth his lessons and exercises with the utmost effort, and in the day of examination he appeareth with infinite joy before the master. Likewise, the pure gold shineth radiantly in the fire of test. Consequently, it is made clear that for holy souls, trials are as the gift of God, the Exalted; but for weak souls they are an unexpected calamity. This test … removeth the rust of egotism from the mirror of the heart until the Sun of Truth may shine therein. For, no veil is greater than egotism and no matter how thin that covering may be, yet it will finally veil man entirely and prevent him from receiving a portion from the eternal bounty.

Bahá’í Faith, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Closing Prayer

O Thou Whose tests are a healing medicine to such as are nigh unto Thee, Whose sword is the ardent desire of all them that love Thee, Whose dart is the dearest wish of those hearts that yearn after Thee, Whose decree is the sole hope of them that have recognized Thy truth! I implore Thee, by Thy divine sweetness and by the splendors of the glory of Thy face, to send down upon us from Thy retreats on high that which will enable us to draw nigh unto Thee. Set, then, our feet firm, O my God, in Thy Cause, and enlighten our hearts with the effulgence of Thy knowledge, and illumine our breasts with the brightness of Thy names.

Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh

Photo by Riaan Myburgh on Unsplash

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