Monday, February 26, 2007

B.M.G In N.Y.C.

O ye servants of the Sacred Threshold! The triumphant hosts of the Celestial Concourse, arrayed and marshalled in the Realms above, stand ready and expectant to assist and assure victory to that valiant horseman who with confidence spurs on his charger into the arena of service. Well is it with that fearless warrior, who armed with the power of true Knowledge, hastens unto the field, disperses the armies of ignorance, and scatters the hosts of error, who holds aloft the Standard of Divine Guidance, and sounds the Clarion of Victory. By the righteousness of the Lord! He hath achieved a glorious triumph and obtained the true victory.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 264)

Once again I had the pleasure of gathering for prayer, study and fellowship with men of African Descent, this time in New York City. I arrived on Friday night and was taken by my long time friend and spiritual warrior Bruce Grover to a monthly program at the New York Baha'i Center called "The Urban Juke Joint" hosted by brilliant Baha'i artists and master organizers Lloyd and Ken. A standing room only crowd listen to young people of color speaking their minds through beats and rhymes (yes I made that line up myself). Politics, spirituality, relationships, social justice, sexuality, all were fair game for this young, black and gifted crowd. I spent most of the evening with my back pressed against a back wall and a cold wind coming through a nearby door, but what I heard made me smile. I thought, "this is what I'm talkin' about". On Saturday we began the Black Men's Gathering New York in our customary way with high energy drumming, song and prayer. We then took the time to introduce ourselves and say where we were from and why we were there. We received words of wisdom from Dr. William Roberts who founded the Gathering 20 years ago and then stories were shared from those of us who had the good fortune to travel to Ghana and the Baha'i World Center in Israel this past December. ( You can read my personal account of this life changing journey here) After lunch we reconvened and studied the guidance from the Universal House of Justice, the International Governing Council of the Baha'i Faith that has recently been shared with Baha'is throughout the world about the spiritual and social forces at work in society and the role of Baha'is in advancing the oneness of humanity. We reflected on what this guidance meant for each of us as black men and what we intended to do to support the world embracing mission of our Faith. That evening I enjoyed the atomic intellect of Artemus Stover, A.K.A Shahid Pa of the rap group Fort Tabarsi as we eached waxed philosophical on the Revelation of Baha'u'llah and the destiny of African Americans. On Sunday the brothers hosted the ever popular "Hush Harbor" devotional at the New York Baha'i Center. We had a full house and raised the roof with thunderous drumming, singing, chanting, dancing and clapping. The power of the Holy Spirit was felt by all and you could see the spirits being set free from material bondage and the oppression of the ego. It. Was. Fabulous.