Monday, April 16, 2007

BMG New Jersey

I was told in the past that I did not include enough pictures so I tried to do better this time. This freedom rider has returned from the land of gigantic and plentiful shopping malls (New Jersey) and another weekend of black men changing their lives and the world through prayer, study, fellowship and service. The heart of the BMG is prayer, prayer that catapults the soul beyond this world, prayer that breaks the bonds of four centuries of enslavement, systemic discrimination, and pathological social conditioning. There was plenty of prayer this weekend, both during the formal BMG program and also during a devotional meeting with the children and families of the wider community. One of the things about the prayers this weekend is that they included several musicians who brought their flavor to supplicating the Almighty. One of the sweetest moments of the devotional meeting on Sunday was when an itty-bitty children piped up and started to sing an African song. When the rest of us did not immediately join is with her she paused and asked, "Doesn't everybody know this song?" in the sweetest little voice you've heard in your life. Everyone joined in with her and it was delightful! Another moment came after the formal devotions were over and the musicians started to jam out in purely instrumental prayer. It was out of this world. It went on and on
until it was like we had all just took off into space. It was really cool to see
that an environment had been created where people could stretch the boundaries of what prayer could be. Another thing that
was nice to see was that men from
all over the New England states and
beyond attended in a show of unity
that is truly inspiring and bodes well
for the spiritual transformation of
the East Coast. Massachusetts was
a strong contingent I am proud to say
and brothers from New York and
Philadelphia also attended. Another
really special part of the weekend was that there were several men
who had become Baha'is within the
the past two years. Their testimonies about the way that the Faith had changed their lives sweetened the personal introduction of participants that is an important part of every Gathering. I have to run but will end with a quote from the Baha'i Writings that captures the spirit of this weekend:

"If a small number of people gather lovingly together, with absolute purity and sanctity, with their hearts free of the world, experiencing the emotions of the Kingdom and the powerful magnetic forces of the Divine, and being at one in their happy fellowship, that gathering will exert its influence over all the earth. The nature of that band of people, the words they speak, the deeds they do, will unleash the bestowals of Heaven, and provide a foretaste of eternal bliss. The hosts of the Company on high will defend them, and the angels of the Abha Paradise, in continuous succession, will come down to their aid."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 80)

Coming Soon on Baha'i Thought:
Black Nationalism and the Baha'i Faith