InterFaith Devotional Program for This Sunday

Order of Service

Opening Prayer

O Thou Whose face is the object of my adoration, Whose beauty is my sanctuary, Whose habitation is my goal, Whose praise is my hope, Whose providence is my companion, Whose love is the cause of my being, Whose mention is my solace, Whose nearness is my desire, Whose presence is my dearest wish and highest aspiration, I entreat Thee not to withhold from me the things Thou didst ordain for the chosen ones among Thy servants. Supply me, then, with the good of this world and of the next.

Thou, truly, art the King of all men. There is no God but Thee, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Generous.

Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah

First Reading

Of the nether worlds and heavens has He created millions;

Men exhaust themselves trying to explore them.

Sikhism. Adi Granth, Japuji 22, M.1

In my Father’s house are many rooms.

Christianity. John 14.2

O thou seeker of the Heavenly Kingdom!

This world resembles the human body and the Kingdom of God is like the spirit of life. Think how narrow and dark the material world of man is, how afflicted with disease and maladies; but how bright and spacious is His Spiritual World! Through this illustration thou mayest comprehend in what manner is the Spiritual World portrayed in this earthly world and in what degree is its power effected. Though the Spirit is concealed, its power is manifested and clear in the phenomenal world; and so with the Kingdom of God, though it is veiled from the eyes of the ignorant people, to men of perception it is discernable and evident. Therefore, thou must become entirely heavenly that thou mayest forget the earthly conditions and be immersed in the perception of Divinity to such a degree that thou wilt be unconscious of the surrounding material existence.

Baha’i Faith, ‘Abdu’l-Baha

O MAN OF TWO VISIONS!

Close one eye and open the other. Close one to the world and all that is therein, and open the other to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved.

Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah

Music

Second Reading

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face:

now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Christianity. 1 Corinthians 13.12

When the human soul soareth out of this transient heap of dust and riseth into the world of God, then veils will fall away, and verities will come to light, and all things unknown before will be made clear, and hidden truths be understood.

Consider how a being, in the world of the womb, was deaf of ear and blind of eye, and mute of tongue; how he was bereft of any perceptions at all. But once, out of that world of darkness, he passed into this world of light, then his eye saw, his ear heard, his tongue spoke. In the same way, once he hath hastened away from this mortal place into the Kingdom of God, then he will be born in the spirit; then the eye of his perception will open, the ear of his soul will hearken, and all the truths of which he was ignorant before will be made plain and clear.

Baha’i Faith, Abdu’l-Baha

Those who have faith and do righteous deeds, they are the best of creatures. Their reward is with God: Gardens of Eternity, beneath which rivers flow; they will dwell therein for ever; God well pleased with them, and they with Him; all this for such as fear their Lord and Cherisher.

Islam. Qur’an 98.7-8

And know thou for a certainty, that in the divine worlds, the spiritual beloved ones will recognize each other, and will seek union, but a spiritual union. Likewise, a love that one may have entertained for any one will not be forgotten in the world of the Kingdom. Likewise, thou wilt not forget the life that thou hast had in the material world.

Baha’i Faith, Abdu’l-Baha

There is no death. Only a change of worlds.

Seattle (1786-1866) Suquamish chief

Music

 

Third Reading

Thou who exists beyond the wide firmament,

mighty in thine own splendor and strong of mind, hast made,

for our help, the earth a replica of thy glory,

and encompassed water and light up to the heavens.

Hinduism. Rig Veda 1.52.12

In our solar system, the center of illumination is the sun itself. Through the will of God this central luminary is the one source of the existence and development of all phenomenal things… But if we reflect deeply we will perceive that the great bestower and giver of life is God; the sun is the intermediary of His will and plan… All illumination of our planetary system proceeds or emanates from the solar center.

Likewise in the spiritual realm of intelligence and idealism there must be a center of illumination, and that center is the everlasting, ever-shining Sun, the Word of God. Its lights are the lights of reality which have shone upon humanity, illumining the realm of thought and morals, conferring the bounties of the divine world upon man. These lights are the cause of the education of souls and the source of the enlightenment of hearts, sending forth in effulgent radiance the message of the glad-tidings of the Kingdom of God. In brief, the moral and ethical world and the world of spiritual regeneration are dependent for their progressive being upon that heavenly center of illumination. It gives forth the light of religion and bestows the life of the spirit, imbues humanity with archetypal virtues and confers eternal splendors. This Sun of Reality, this center of effulgences is the prophet or Manifestation of God.

Baha’i Faith, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Consider, for instance, the revelation of the light of the Name of God, the Educator. Behold, how in all things the evidences of such a revelation are manifest, how the betterment of all beings dependeth upon it… Its influence pervadeth all things and sustaineth them. It is for this reason that God hath assumed the title, “Lord of all worlds.”

Baha’i Faith, Bahá’u’lláh

Music

Open Prayers

Music

Fourth Reading

Strive as much as ye can to turn wholly toward the Kingdom, that ye may acquire innate courage and ideal power.

I hope that in this nether world thou shalt attain unto heavenly light, thou wilt free the souls from the gloom of nature, which is the animal kingdom, and cause them to reach lofty stations in the human kingdom. Today all people are immersed in the world of nature. That is why thou dost see jealousy, greed, the struggle for survival, deception, hypocrisy, tyranny, oppression, disputes, strife, bloodshed, looting and pillaging, which all emanate from the world of nature. Few are those who have been freed from this darkness, who have ascended from the world of nature to the world of man, who have followed the divine Teachings, have served the world of humanity, are resplendent, merciful, illumined and like unto a rose garden. Strive thine utmost to become godlike, characterized with His attributes, illumined and merciful, that thou mayest be freed from every bond and become attached at heart to the Kingdom of the incomparable Lord. This …is heavenly light.  

Baha’i Faith, Abdu’l-Baha

Closing Prayer

Glorified art Thou, O God! Grant us that which is good and seemly that we may be able to dispense with everything but Thee. Verily, Thou art the Lord of all worlds.

O God! Recompense those who endure patiently in Thy days, and strengthen their hearts to walk undeviatingly in the path of Truth. Grant then, O Lord, such goodly gifts as would enable them to gain admittance into Thy blissful Paradise. Exalted art Thou, O Lord God. Let Thy heavenly blessings descend upon homes whose inmates have believed in Thee. Verily, unsurpassed art Thou in sending down divine blessings. Send forth, O God, such hosts as would render Thy faithful servants victorious. Thou dost fashion the created things through the power of Thy decree as Thou pleasest. Thou art in truth the Sovereign, the Creator, the All-Wise.

Say: God is indeed the Maker of all things. He giveth sustenance in plenty to whomsoever He willeth. He is the Creator, the Source of all beings, the Fashioner, the Almighty, the Maker, the All-Wise. He is the Bearer of the most excellent titles throughout the heavens and the earth and whatever lieth between them. All do His bidding, and all the dwellers of earth and heaven celebrate His praise, and unto Him shall all return.

Baha’i Faith, The Bab