I would like to take a moment to honor the people of the land we live on; this is the homeland of the Auk Kwaan and Taku clans of the Tlingit people who have provided centuries of stewardship to this place. Gunalchéesh
Also, I would like to thank the Juneau Empire for making these columns possible.
Christ Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”. Bahá’ís understand this is not so much a divine proficiency that will miraculously occur, but rather a charge to the faithful to strive day and night to build the kingdom of heaven here on earth. Those of us who believe in God cannot wait around for the clouds to part, we have work to do, and we must do it together.
In this spirit, my previous Living & Growing article addressed our upcoming “Building a better world together” conference that was scheduled in June. I can report that we had a meaningful discussion on how we can work together as a community to build a better tomorrow.
The elected body that leads the Bahá’í Faith, offers this guidance to the Bahá’ís of the world.
“Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, states that “the purpose for which mortal men have, from utter nothingness, stepped into the realm of being, is that they may work for the betterment of the world and live together in concord and harmony.” He has revealed teachings that make this possible. Building a society that consciously pursues this collective purpose is the work of not only this generation, but of many generations to come, and Bahá’u’lláh’s followers welcome all who labour alongside them in this undertaking. It means learning how to raise up vibrant, outward-looking communities; it means those communities learning how to bring about spiritual and material progress; it means learning how to contribute to the discourses that influence the direction of that progress.”
As Bahá’ís we are committed to a bright and prosperous future for all humanity, understanding that the welfare of individuals rests in the welfare of society at large. We can be loyal citizens and still eschew all partisanship. Instead, we must focus on transcending differences and promote the use of consultation in the decision-making process. The building blocks of a stable social order are trustworthiness, cooperation, and forbearance.
We cannot ignore the many injustices that persist in the world today, yet we must be equally clear sighted about the creative power of unity and humanity’s inherent capacity for altruism. In that light we must also understand the power of true religion to transform hearts and overcome distrust, and so with confidence in what the future holds we can work to cultivate the conditions where progress can occur.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of Bahá’u’lláh, explains that the more the qualities of cooperation and mutual assistance are manifested by a people, “the more will human society advance in progress and prosperity”.
It is all too easy to look at the world today and become consumed by the discord and partisanship and be left with a sense of hopelessness and despair. But if you tune out the noise and look deeply at the state of humanity you can see the foundations of the future being built here and now. The ills of humanity are fundamentally spiritual. The solutions to these ills will be found by strengthening such spiritual qualities as trustworthiness, truthfulness, honesty and cooperation.
The organizations in our society that are best suited to transform the hearts of people are of course religious. The purpose of religion is, to nurture and develop the spiritual qualities of the individual and thus transform the character of humankind.
It is with great joy and heart felt pleasure I wish to thank and encourage all the leaders and members of Juneau’s Faith communities for the work they do to make Juneau a more vibrant and loving community.
• Adam Bauer is secretary for the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Juneau. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Friday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.