Baha’i Center of Orange County
It was Easter Sunday and people seemed especially ready for service. As a member of a different faith other than Baha’i, I was looking forward to seeing how a Baha’i service was conducted. Being Easter, I had almost forgot about the hour and half service as I was consumed with thoughts of the crucifixion and resurrection. But boy was I extremely surprised and delighted to be in that service! It was amazing, different individuals singing and chanting in different languages that inspires the soul to dance in different ways. Poems and passages were read from many different traditions, but all centering on The Kingdom.
The Kingdom as I describe it, is used to describe the invisible or undetectable fabric that completes the material world (invisible or undetectable according to naturalistic science and its tools and methodology). It is said that Plato was the first to distinguish this world of ideas as other than the world of objects and form. It was considered that every material object was a mere copy of the unseen idea, so a physical coffee table was but a imperfect copy of TABLE. This is the duality of Life, each “world” has its own set of policies and politics that govern it…usually opposite of each other but completing each other. For example, the world of ideas clings to virtue – the turning of the other cheek and forgiveness; while the world of objects and forms holds that might makes right and its a dog-eat-dog world. So at the Baha’i center, all chants, songs, poems and readings, regardless of language and religious tradition were centered on “The Kingdom”.
What was considerably interesting was the Baha’i open and free form style of service. If you can imagine a Methodist church with out all the symbology and without a pastor, that would be the environment. Congregates just got up on their own and approached the front and read or sang. How refreshing! It was also exciting to not know what would come next, a Persian song, a Muslim poem or a Catholic chant. It was clear that the entire Kingdom was represented and the Baha’i’s place very small limits on its definition and by doing so expand the notion to include the cultures, religions and traditions of the world. It was beautiful to be in a place without religious and cultural boundaries, but all focused on The Kingdom.
I would highly recommend anyone interested in The Kingdom to check out a Baha’i service to experience the warmth and hospitality that each of us felt while we were there. The sense of community that existed, with everyone smiling at one and other, acknowledging each others presence with a smile and greeting adds to the feeling of community. Even as a non-Baha’i, one could not help but feel part of the community. Since The Kingdom is the focal point and not any one particular tradition, a Baha’i can be anyone and there is no one set ethnicity or culture that is Baha’i, everyone gets the star treatment. A very enjoyable morning, I wouldn’t of traded my Easter Sunday Service for anything else.