And the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.
Here’s a very interesting quote from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, taken from a talk he gave on the equality of men and women. It’s rather appropriate given what day it is today. To all those who’ve been celebrating the Christian Holy Week, here’s wishing you a glorious day on this Easter Monday.
After the martyrdom of Christ, to Whom be glory, the disciples were greatly disturbed and disheartened. Even Peter had denied Christ and tried to shun Him. It was a woman, Mary Magdalene, who confirmed the wavering disciples in their faith, saying, “Was it the body of Christ or the reality of Christ that ye have seen crucified? Surely it was His body. His reality is everlasting and eternal; it hath neither beginning nor ending. Therefore, why are ye perplexed and discouraged? Christ always spoke of His being crucified.” Mary Magdalene was a mere villager, a peasant woman; yet she became the means of consolation and confirmation to the disciples of Christ.
His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 282
so the christmas holiday season is finally here, and many people around the world are either freaking out (due to the stress of last-minute shopping and mounting debt), bored out of their minds (because they don’t celebrate christmas, everyone’s away and nothing’s open) or boarding planes to get the heck out. I’ll be among the latter category this year; two good friends of mine, Misagh and Jamál, are getting married in Edmonton during the holidays, so I’ll be flying out to happily attend! Along the way, I’m also planning to visit friends in Vancouver and Winnipeg, returning on January 1. There’ll surely be lots of great photos coming out of the whole trip, so do keep your eyes peeled in the new (gregorian) year.
One of the questions most often asked of Baha’is around this time of the year is: Do Baha’is celebrate Christmas? The answer I usually give is no, we don’t—not as a religious observance, anyway. All the same, Baha’is are very sympathetic to the ideals of charity, generosity, all-embracing love and goodwill towards humanity that are often upheld as characteristic of the Christmas holidays. There are certain Baha’i holidays which celebrate these virtues—the curious should look up Ayyám-i-Há.
Another question often asked around Christmas is: How do Baha’is view Christ? I particularly like the answer given in a news brief published on Thursday by the Baha’is of the United States: that Jesus Christ “is revered in the Baha’i Faith as a Manifestation of God, and anyone who embraces the Baha’i Faith—regardless of their religious background—also confesses the universal redemptive significance of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection”. The article also quotes Bahá’u’lláh’s words regarding Christ, an excerpt of which I’ll quote here due to them being so beautiful and amazing:
Know thou that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee. [ Read more ]
so merry christmas to all my christian friends, and while I’m at it, happy hanukkah to my jewish friends, too. may the spirit of friendliness, fellowship and unity pervade your celebrations, turn enemies into friends, and infuse fresh capacity and new life into your souls.
so, our community welcomed a bunch of youth on a travel-teaching trip today. It was my first time coordinating something like that on my own. Ok, so maybe “coordinated” is too strong a word. 😉
No, seriously though, it turned out quite well. We had a deepening meeting on Saturday afternoon with several of the members of our community, on Bahá’í laws and the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Most Holy Book). Afterwards, surprise surprise, we went across Victoriaville to participate in the World Youth Day celebrations. It was a trip. And I mean that in the sense of it being far out. And I mean that in the sense of it being wacky, wild, freaky, cool. Man. Slang is such a drag.
We started out by joining up with the corn-on-the-cob dinner on top of Mont Arthabaska, where we met a bunch of the pilgrims and locals and had time to chat and get to know each other. When it was over there was a performance by a Christian dance/song group straight from France. It actually was pretty good. Think Wildfire Dance Theatre, but in french, and Christian, with less specific emphasis on social issues and more on personal spiritual issues. I bought the CD. To finish the night, we joined all the folks who were doing a prayer march down the mountain carrying candles and torches. All in all, very interesting. It was my first time interacting with large numbers of young Christians, seeing how they express their belief and their faith. It showed me a lot of things about my own Faith, and I’m still reflecting on it. One thing that came to me is just how important it is to follow the high standard that Bahá’ís are exhorted to follow. Actions speak far louder than words, and one thing you do can make a far greater impression than a hundred things you say. When we are asked to lead a chaste and holy life, it’s not only for our own good, but for the good of the whole world. We teach people through the way we live our life and through the example that we give. That’s not to say that we should stop at just that — the promotion of the Word of God is done in all possible ways — but it shows that this Faith is a part of our daily life, it affects the way we think, affects the way we act, affects the way we live. And no matter how far we think we can go, there’s always one step farther we really can go. That’s the magic of being human — we can do a lot more with God’s help than we may think we can.
Anyway, the only drawback for me this weekend was my ill health. I’m still coughing and it doesn’t seem to be going away. I need to see a doctor pronto. Only problem is, I don’t have my health card yet. Maybe I should just pay the sixty bucks and get it over with. Being sick sucks big donkey butt.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah… back to that high standard of behaviour…
holidays are funny, aren’t they? this one started out as the veneration of a christian saint, and now we just send each other pink and red cards with love all over them. same thing with hallowe’en, same thing with christmas. we don’t celebrate things the way we used to. of course, we’re not in the habit of flagellating ourselves nowadays, either.
to offset those observations, here are some words of wisdom about love: