Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Joy to the world

Husband and I hosted an interfaith devotional service last Sunday (we do this the first Sunday of every month). A friend of ours put together the readings, and organized the selections around the theme of "joy." It seemed perfect for this time of year, when so many celebrate a joyous occasion, and these are my favorite readings from the program.

From the Baha'i Writings:
Be happy and joyous because the bestowals of God are intended for you, and the life of the Holy Spirit is breathing upon you.
From Philippians 4.6-7:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus ...
From Islamic Scripture (Rabia):
O my Joy and my Desire and my Refuge,
My Friend and my Sustainer and my Goal;
Thou are my Intimate, and longing for Thee sustains me;
Were it not for Thee, O my Life and my Friend,
How I should have been distraught over the spaces of the earth;
How many favors have been bestowed, and how much hast Thou given me
Of gifts and grace and assistance;
Thy love is now my desire and my bliss;
And has been revealed to the eye of my heart that was athirst;
I have none beside Thee, Who dost make the desert blossom,
Thou are my joy, firmly established within me;
If Thou are satisfied with me, then,
O Desire of my heart, my happiness has appeared.
From the Kenyan tradition of Kikuyu:
O my father, Great Elder,
I have no words to thank you,
But with your deep wisdom
I am sure that you can see
How I value your glorious gifts.
O my Father, when I look upon your greatness,
I am confounded with awe. 
O Great Elder, 
Ruler of all things earthly and heavenly,
I am your warrior,
Ready to act in accordance with your will.
From the Hindu Scripture of Tulsi Das:
Grant me, O Master, by thy grace
To follow all the good and pure;
To be content with simple things;
To speak no ill of others;
To have a mind at peace;
Set free from care, and led astray from thee
Neither by happiness nor woe;
To consider my fellows not as means but ends,
To serve them stalwartly in thought, word and deed;
Never to utter a word of hatred or of shame;
To cast away all selfishness and pride.

Set thou my feet upon this path,
And keep me steadfast in it:
Thus only shall I please thee, serve thee right.
And one of my favorite Baha'i prayers:
O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou are my guide and my refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life. 

O God! Thou are more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord. 
Such beautiful words, and such purifying thoughts! And it's all so simple, and yet living it is so very difficult. So here's to doing your best, right? I needed this guidance now more than I even knew last weekend. 

1 comment:

Christy said...