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With May fast approaching I am thinking about June 29 and
Peace Fest. I usually hold this event in a local park on that day every year.
The last couple of years I was very disorganized and I was the only one who
This year I am not even certain
that I will be in London, Ontario on that day, however I can celebrate Peace
Fest anywhere. I you are interested in celebrating with me, send an email to email@example.com or leave a
On June 29, 1912, 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave
a Unity Feast in New Jersey. During his speech, he stated that his very words
would be repeated in assemblages held in the future to commemorate that event.
Below is a translation of the
29 June 1912
Talk at Unity Feast, Outdoors
West Englewood, New Jersey
by Esther Foster
This is a delightful gathering;
you have come here with sincere intentions, and the purpose of all present is
the attainment of the virtues of God. The motive is attraction to the divine
Kingdom. Since the desire of all is unity and agreement, it is certain that
this meeting will be productive of great results. It will be the cause of
attracting a new bounty, for we are turning to the Kingdom of Abha, seeking the
infinite bestowals of the Lord. This is a new Day, and this hour is a new Hour
in which we have come together. Surely the Sun of Reality with its full
effulgence will illumine us, and the darkness of disagreements will disappear.
The utmost love and unity will result; the favors of God will encompass us; the
pathway of the Kingdom will be made easy. Like candles these souls will become
ignited and made radiant through the lights of supreme guidance. Such
gatherings as this have no equal or likeness in the world of mankind, where
people are drawn together by physical motives or in furtherance of material
interests, for this meeting is a prototype of that inner and complete spiritual
association in the eternal world of being.
True Bahá'í meetings are the
mirrors of the Kingdom wherein images of the Supreme Concourse are reflected.
In them the lights of the most great guidance are visible. They voice the
summons of the heavenly Kingdom and echo the call of the angelic hosts to every
listening ear. The efficacy of such meetings as these is permanent throughout
the ages. This assembly has a name and significance which will last forever.
Hundreds of thousands of meetings shall be held to commemorate this occasion,
and the very words I speak to you today shall be repeated in them for ages to
come. Therefore, be ye rejoiced, for ye are sheltered beneath the providence of
God. Be happy and joyous because the bestowals of God are intended for you and
the life of the Holy Spirit is breathing upon you.
Rejoice, for the heavenly table is
prepared for you.
Rejoice, for the angels of heaven
are your assistants and helpers.
76.5 Rejoice, for the glance of the
Blessed Beauty, Bahá'u'lláh, is directed upon you.
Rejoice, for Bahá'u'lláh is your
Rejoice, for the everlasting glory
is destined for you.
Rejoice, for the eternal life is
How many blessed souls have longed
for this radiant century, their utmost hopes and desires centered upon the
happiness and joy of one such day as this. Many the nights they passed
sleepless and lamenting until the very morn in longing anticipation of this
age, yearning to realize even an hour of this time. God has favored you in this
century and has specialized you for the realization of its blessings.
Therefore, you must praise and thank God with heart and soul in appreciation of
this great opportunity and the attainment of this infinite bestowal -- that
such doors have been opened before your faces, that such abundance is pouring
down from the cloud of mercy and that these refreshing breezes from the
paradise of Abha are resuscitating you. You must become of one heart, one
spirit and one susceptibility. May you become as the waves of one sea, stars of
the same heaven, fruits adorning the same tree, roses of one garden in
order that through you the oneness of humanity may establish its temple in the
world of mankind, for you are the ones who are called to uplift the cause of
unity among the nations of the earth.
First, you must become united and
agreed among yourselves. You must be exceedingly kind and loving toward each
other, willing to forfeit life in the pathway of another's happiness. You must
be ready to sacrifice your possessions in another's behalf. The rich among you
must show compassion toward the poor, and the well-to-do must look after those
in distress. In Persia the friends offer their lives for each other, striving
to assist and advance the interests and welfare of all the rest. They live in a
perfect state of unity and agreement. Like the Persian friends you must be
perfectly agreed and united to the extent and limit of sacrificing life. Your
utmost desire must be to confer happiness upon each other. Each one must be the
servant of the others, thoughtful of their comfort and welfare. In the path of
God one must forget himself entirely. He must not consider his own pleasure but
seek the pleasure of others. He must not desire glory nor gifts of bounty for
himself but seek these gifts and blessings for his brothers and sisters. It is
my hope that you may become like this, that you may attain to the supreme
bestowal and be imbued with such spiritual qualities as to forget yourselves
entirely and with heart and soul offer yourselves as sacrifices for the Blessed
Perfection. You should have neither will nor desire of your own but seek
everything for the beloved of God and live together in complete love and
fellowship. May the favors of Bahá'u'lláh surround you from all directions.
This is the greatest bestowal and supreme bounty. These are the infinite favors
The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 213, 215)
I have just released my second book. It contains the short story, "SINGING IN THE CHAPEL," along with the play by Jason Rip, "MY NAME IS MARGARET HARMAN." Jason started with my story and went a different direction with it. Ordering information is at www.singing.9li.ca.
The first London Peace fest in 2012 had 22 participants. In 2013
there was 3. In 2014 there was only myself. This year I am late and more
disorganized than usual. I have been busy with many other things, but I feel it
is important to remember the date.
the 29th of June 1912, 'Abdu'l-Bahá Talked at Unity Feast, Outdoors
at West Englewood, New Jersey.
I became a Baha’i on the eleventh day of Núr in the year
127. That gave me some time before my first fast during the month of ‘Alá’ that year. How I anticipated
that event and wondered how I would do. I would often go for long periods
without food, but even a glass of water was not allowed during the fast. Worst
of all, I would have to wake up and have breakfast before dawn each day. Not
being an early riser, this would likely be the greatest challenge. But I met
the challenge and proved to myself that I could do it.
Over the years I gained the
knowledge that fasting was relatively easy for me. At first it was meeting the
challenge that drove me to do it, but that soon ceased to be a reason. I
learned that I could do it. Now I needed to learn why I should do it. I was relatively
isolated from other Bahá’ís and no one would know if I took a sip of water. But
I wasn’t doing it for other Baha’is. I learned that there were some health benefits
to fasting, but I wasn’t doing it for my health. I learned that it was a part
of the Baha’i Teachings and Baha’is all over the world were fasting, but I wasn’t
doing it just because everyone else did. So Why was I fasting? It came down to
the fact that God commanded those who love Him to fast so it was only my love
for the Almighty God that urged me to deprive myself of food and drink for 12
hours each day.
But then there was all the other
commandments of God. Pray every day. Read the writings day and night. Teach,
teach, teach. Was I doing all those things? If I wasn’t, what good would it do
to fast? If I didn’t take time to pray as I should, then fasting was all for
nothing. Would my solution be do give up fasting or would I make a greater
effort to find time to pray?
Fasting is part of a spiritual
life style, and in a material world it is difficult to find reasons to do it. To
fast faithfully and for the right reason, we must strive to become spiritual
beings. Fasting may weaken the body, but it strengthens the spirit. When the
spirit deprives the body of food for a period each day it becomes a victor over
self and desire. We turn our thoughts away from the material and towards the
As I am now approaching the end
of my 45th fast I am wondering what I have learned from it. Do I now
pray enough? Am I studying the writings every day? Am I teaching and leading
one new soul to the Truth each year? It is beginning to look like I need
another 45 years to make improvements.
These things are very difficult
to do in isolation. I keep hoping I’ll find another soul that would be
supportive of my efforts that we may form a team to teach God’s word. Someone
who would go through all the Ruhi books with me and team up with me to do all
the practices. Someone who needs my help as much as I need theirs. Someone who
can help me be a Baha’i.
'Abdu'l-Bahá says that “it is
impossible for the loved ones of God to receive assistance unless they teach.”
I desperately need assistance so I desperately need to teach.
209. O ye servants of the Blessed
Beauty!... It is clear that in this day, confirmations from the unseen world
are encompassing all those who deliver the divine Message. Should the work of
teaching lapse, these confirmations would be entirely cut off, since it is
impossible for the loved ones of God to receive assistance unless they teach.
Under all conditions, the
teaching must be carried forward, but with wisdom. If the work cannot proceed
openly, then let them teach in private, and thus engender spirituality and
fellowship among the children of men. If, for example, each and every one of
the believers would become a true friend to one of the unheeding, and,
conducting himself with absolute rectitude, associate with this soul, treat him
with the utmost kindness, himself exemplify the divine instructions he hath
received, the good qualities and behaviour patterns, and at all times act in
accord with the admonitions of God -- it is certain that little by little he
will succeed in awakening that previously heedless individual, and in changing
his ignorance to knowledge of the truth.
Souls are inclined toward
estrangement. Steps should first be taken to do away with this estrangement,
for only then will the Word take effect. If a believer showeth kindness to one
of the neglectful, and, with great love, gradually leadeth him to an
understanding of the validity of the Holy Cause, so that he may come to know
the fundamentals of God's Faith and the implications thereof -- such a one will
certainly be transformed, excepting only those seldom-encountered individuals
who are even as ashes, whose hearts are 'hard as rocks, or harder still.'
[1 Qur'án 2:69 ]
If every one of the friends
should strive in this way to guide one soul aright, the number of believers will
double every year; and this can be accomplished with prudence and wisdom, and
no harm whatever would result therefrom.
Furthermore, the teachers must
travel about, and if spreading the Message openly should cause a disturbance,
then instead, let them stimulate and train the believers, inspire them, delight
them, rejoice their hearts, revive and refresh them with the sweet savours of
Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, p. 264 - 266)
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Therefore, the seeker must be
endowed with certain qualities. First of all, he must be just and severed from
all else save God; his heart must be entirely turned to the supreme horizon; he
must be free from the bondage of self and passion, for all these are obstacles.
Furthermore, he must be able to endure all hardships. He must be absolutely
pure and sanctified, and free from the love or the hatred of the inhabitants of
the world. Why? because the fact of his love for any person or thing might
prevent him from recognizing the truth in another, and, in the same way, hatred
for anything might be a hindrance in discerning truth. This is the condition of
seeking, and the seeker must have these qualities and attributes. Until
he reaches this condition, it is not possible for him to attain to the Sun of
The first condition of a seeker
is to be just and severed from all except God. How often it is that one is
barred from the Truth because one is attacked to a particular religious form or
a past Prophet. When Truth approaches from a different angle it is rejected.
Those of one religion fail to see the Truth in all others. Christ said, “I am
the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”[i]
Yet Christ is rejected if He approaches from unfamiliar ground.
“Jesus said unto them, Verily,
verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”[ii]
Yet His followers fail to see the timelessness of Him. When He appears at a
different time in a different person, He is rejected. His followers will say, “this
is not Christ who was born of a virgin, was crucified and rose from the dead.”
Unless Christ returns again in the body of Jesus, they will not accept Him.
What will He look like. They have all seen pictures of Jesus, so it is obvious
that He is a white Anglo-Saxon protestant with long hair who will confirm
everything they already believe. If He was to appear otherwise, He would assuredly
be rejected. Thus attachment to the form, no matter how imaginary it is, causes
them to reject the Truth when manifested in an unexpected way.
When people make up a God, they
tend to make Him agreeable to all they believe, willing to do whatever they
want Him to do, and of the same ethnicity as they are themselves. Such a God is
their best friend and cannot do them any wrong, no matter how corrupt they are.
It is very difficult to break anyone away from such a belief and when the One
True God sends another Messenger with that same Christ Spirit that existed from
the beginning that had no beginning and will be with us until the end that will
never end, (in other words, He is with us for eternity), He is assuredly
rejected by the masses because He does not conform to human expectation.
Thus it is only those who are
detached from such belief who recognize Him. We see in the Bible how the
religious leaders of the day rejected Him, yet the devils recognized and feared
And when he was come to the other
side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with
devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by
that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee,
Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
(Matthew 8: 28, 29)
It is clear that we must detach
ourselves from pride, learning, religion, persons and anything at all that
could bar us from recognizing the Truth. When Jesus said, “I am the Truth,” it
was the Christ within Him that was speaking and whenever we find the Truth, we
find Him. They will be known by their fruits. If the fruit is Truth, assuredly
the Tree is Christ.