Devotional meetings spring up naturally in a community where a conversation about the spiritual dimension of human existence is growing. In diverse settings, Bahá’ís and their friends and families unite with one another in prayer. There are no rituals; no one individual has any special role. Meetings consist largely of reading prayers and passages from the Bahá’í sacred texts in an informal yet respectful atmosphere. A spirit of communal worship is generated by these simple gatherings, and this spirit begins to permeate the community’s collective endeavours.
Bahá’ís see the young as the most precious treasure a community can possess. In them are the promise and guarantee of the future. Yet, in order for this promise to be realised, children need to receive spiritual nourishment. In a world where the joy and innocence of childhood can be so easily overwhelmed by the aggressive pursuit of materialistic ends, the moral and spiritual education of children assumes vital importance.
Once in every nineteen days, meetings are held in every locality by the Bahá’í community. Known as the “Nineteen Day Feast”, these gatherings serve as the bedrock of Bahá’í community life.
The Feast was ordained in the Kitab-i-Aqdas by Bahá’u’lláh; He counseled His followers to meet once every Bahá’í month, even if “only water be served”. “This feast”, states ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “is held to foster comradeship and love, to call God to mind and supplicate Him with contrite hearts, and to encourage benevolent pursuits.” “It rejoiceth mind and heart”, He writes in another passage. “If this feast be held in the proper fashion, the friends will, once in nineteen days, find themselves spiritually restored, and endued with a power that is not of this world.”
Bahá’í efforts of social action seek to promote the social and material well-being of people of all walks of life, whatever their beliefs or background. Such efforts are motivated by the desire to serve humanity and contribute to constructive social change. Together they represent a growing process of learning concerned with the application of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, along with knowledge accumulated in different fields of human endeavour, to social reality.
A community banking project in Murun, Mongolia
World Peace Academy, a Bahá'í-inspired school in Morang, Nepal