At the same time we must be sensitive to the fact that Bahá’í artists may sometimes feel outside the mainstream of community life because they are unsure as to what form their service might take. They may feel their contributions are not valued if service to the Faith tends to be equated only with serving on committees or Assemblies. (letter from the International Teaching Centre addressed to the Continental Counsellors, date unknown)
Most of my service to the Faith is done online, through this blog and my books, and through interactions with my readers and not at the level of my (inactive, pre-milestone one cluster). It’s easy for me to beat myself up for not serving in the “right” way, especially when the statistics officer calls and wants to know which core activities are happening. This quote really brought comfort to my heart, hearing this from an Institution of the Faith, even if it’s not “authoritative”, I can’t find the date and I can’t find it online.
Then I came across this “new” definition of service, which I’d never seen before, and which takes all the pressure off my concerns about not serving at the cluster level. Here’s the quote:
…every aspect of a person’s life is an element of his or her service to Baha’u’llah: the love and respect one has for one’s parents; the pursuit of one’s education; the nurturing of good health; the acquiring of a trade or profession; one’s behavior towards others and the upholding of a high moral standard; one’s marriage and the bringing up of one’s children; one’s activities in teaching the Faith and the building up the strength of the Baha’i community, whether this be in such simple matters as attending the Nineteen Day Feast or the observance of Baha’i Holy Days, or in more demanding tasks required by service in the administration of the Faith; and, not least, to take time each day to read the Writings and say the Obligatory Prayer, which are the source of growing spiritual strength, understanding, and attachment to God. (The Universal House of Justice, December 7, 1992, European Baha’i Youth Council)
Here are the 12 elements of service embedded in this quote:
Service to Bahá’u’lláh includes:
- the love and respect one has for one’s parents
- the pursuit of one’s education
- the nurturing of good health
- the acquiring of a trade or profession
- one’s behavior towards others
- the upholding of a high moral standard
- one’s marriage
- the bringing up of one’s children
- one’s activities in teaching the Faith
- building up the strength of the Baha’i community (attending the Nineteen Day Feasts or Holy Days, or in more demanding tasks required by service in the administration of the Faith)
- to take time each day to read the Writings
- to take time each day to say the Obligatory Prayer
Knowing I can relax and stop feeling guilty for not more actively participating in the community building process, particularly at the cluster level, I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read through today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Fear into Faith: Overcoming Anxiety