(US, Northeast, July 2008 )

The following is a list of possible avenues of service (though by no means exhaustive) that we ALL can consider carrying out in our lives (or better: make habits of). In this way we will fulfill directly the purpose of our creation, according to Bahá’u’lláh, “to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization”:

  • Setting up time to speak with friends and give them parts or all of Anna’s Presentation
  • Reaching out to neighbors and inviting them to dinner and discussion about the Faith with prayers
  • Starting a neighborhood children’s class
  • Sharing and discussing a prayer with a friend or co-worker
  • Hanging out in coffee shops and starting conversations with people about the Faith and religion

The means to carry out each of these vital services have (potentially) been given us through group study of the Ruhi institute books, notably Books one, two, three and six. In applying the knowledge gained through such studies, assistance is meant to be at hand for the participants in the form of a tutor who has completed the prescribed practices (as in the avenues above) himself, and who should be ready to support and walk together with us in taking our initial steps along these paths. Ultimately, through persistent and courages practice, we should become able to sustain these activities on our own initiative. The House of Justice wrote in 2005:

A discernible outcome of the emphasis on capacity building has been a steady increase in the exercise of individual initiative… Endeavours are pursued in a humble posture of learning within the framework defined by the Plan.

(Universal House of Justice, 27 December 2005, my emphasis)

And in this year’s Ridvan message we read:

In previous messages we have referred to the impetus that the institute process imparts to the exercise of initiative by the individual believer. The friends in every continent are engaged in study of the Writings for the explicit purpose of learning to apply the teachings to the growth of the Faith. Remarkable numbers are now shouldering responsibility for the spiritual vitality of their communities; energetically, they are carrying out those acts of service befitting a healthy pattern of growth. As they have persevered in the field of service to the Cause, maintaining a humble posture of learning, their courage and wisdom, zeal and acuity, fervour and circumspection, determination and trust in God have combined all the more to reinforce one another.

(Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 2008, my emphasis)

“A humble posture of learning” is one of the recurring themes in the House’s messages of late. Can you name others?

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Resting places of The Purest Branch (Mirzá Mihdí) and Navváb, the wife of Bahá’u’lláh, in the Monument Gardens on Mount Carmel

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In truth, the hearts of men are edified through the power of the tongue, even as houses and cities are built up by the hand and other means. We have assigned to every end a means for its accomplishment; avail yourselves thereof, and place your trust and confidence in God, the Omniscient, the All-Wise.

– Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, §160

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(Suggestions given by an Area Teaching Committee (ATC) in the Northeast for those not participating in the door-to-door teaching campaign of the Expansion Phase of their Intensive Program of Growth, adapted and expanded) (Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community)