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Sunday Message by Guest Speaker Parivash Rohani
This week’s letter is coming to you from Steph Plourde, as Revs. Pat and LeRoy are taking some time off.
Today I had my first day off in what seems like a very long time. There is, to me, nothing more exquisite than a wide open, unplanned day. I’ve kept a fire going in my wood stove all day, listening to beautiful music, connecting with friends, cozying up with the kitties, reading, writing… doing all the things I love. All day, I felt the most incredible peace and contentment. I hope this note finds you experiencing some of the things you love, too.
This past Sunday we were very fortunate to have speaker Parivash Rohani as the final speaker in our Season for Interfaith and Intercultural Celebration. For those of you who were there and heard her speak, you know what I mean when I say that she sparkles: she exudes love, warmth, and joy. She told her incredible story of fleeing Iran in the face of religious persecution and about her journey to life in the U.S. Parivash talked about how closely aligned Unity’s principles are with the Baha’i principles. One of the fundamental principles in the Baha’i faith is the principle of The Common Foundation of All Religions. Excerpted from the public talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in America in 1912, and published in The Promulgation of Universal Peace:
The foundation of all the divine religions is one. All are based upon reality. Reality does not admit plurality, yet amongst mankind there have arisen differences concerning the manifestations of God. Some have been Zoroastrians, some are Buddhists, some Jews, Christians, Mohammedans and so on. This has become a source of divergence whereas the teachings of the holy souls who founded the divine religions are one in essence and reality All these have served the world of humanity…. All have guided souls to the attainment of perfections, but among the nations certain imitations of ancestral forms of worship have arisen. These imitations are not the foundation and essence of the divine religions. Inasmuch as they differ from the reality and the essential teachings of the Manifestations of God, dissensions have arisen and prejudice has developed. Religious prejudice thus becomes the cause of warfare and battle. If we abandon these time-worn imitations and investigate reality all of us will be unified. No discord will remain; antagonism will disappear. All will associate in fellowship. All will enjoy the cordial bonds of friendship. The world of creation will then attain composure. The dark and gloomy clouds of blind imitations and dogmatic variances will be scattered and dispelled; the Sun of Reality will shine most gloriously.
Isn’t that just beautiful? And isn’t it so much in alignment with our commitment to inclusion, unity, and peace? Scroll down for the Baha’i prayer that was read on Sunday at the service.
Our next Season will be the Season for Nonviolence, beginning in January. As we wrap up the SIIC, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Pat Bartke, who has coordinated the content of this Season and shared with all her passion for and commitment to all things interfaith. We love, bless, and appreciate you, Pat!
Next week we have guest speaker Matt Jones with us. Matt is a three-time cancer survivor and is on a quest to run 7 marathons on all 7 continents while sharing his inspirational message of how the right attitude helps you achieve your dreams. Please join us to hear Matt at the 10 a.m. service, followed by his workshop at noon. Also this Sunday, we will have our Opportunity Alliance gift tags on our Christmas tree available for all to take. Thank you in advance for your generosity in helping families during this holiday season.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope it is filled with the people and things you love the most. Lastly, please join me in sending Revs. Pat and LeRoy boatloads of love and blessings.
Prayer for Humanity (Baha’i)
Thou kind Lord! Thou hast created…
O Thou kind Lord! Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock. Thou hast decreed that all shall belong to the same household. In Thy Holy Presence they are all Thy servants, and all mankind are sheltered beneath Thy Tabernacle; all have gathered together at Thy Table of Bounty; all are illumined through the light of Thy Providence.
O God! Thou art kind to all, Thou hast provided for all, dost shelter all, conferrest life upon all. Thou hast endowed each and all with talents and faculties, and all are submerged in the Ocean of Thy Mercy.
O Thou kind Lord! Unite all. Let the religions agree and make the nations one, so that they may see each other as one family and the whole earth as one home. May they all live together in perfect harmony.
O God! Raise aloft the banner of the oneness of mankind.
O God! Establish the Most Great Peace.
Cement Thou, O God, the hearts together.
O Thou kind Father, God! Gladden our hearts through the fragrance of Thy love. Brighten our eyes through the Light of Thy Guidance. Delight our ears with the melody of Thy Word, and shelter us all in the Stronghold of Thy Providence.
Thou art the Mighty and Powerful, Thou art the Forgiving and Thou art the One Who overlooketh the shortcomings of all mankind.