« Let your vision be world-embracing… »Bahá’u’lláh
Throughout history, God has sent to humanity a succession of divine Educators–known as Manifestations of God–whose teachings have served as the basis for the advancement of civilisation. These Manifestations have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed. The most recent of these Messengers, Bahá’u’lláh, explained that the religions of the world come from the same Source and that they are, in essence, successive chapters of a single religion of God.
Baha’is believe that the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the future of society and of the nature and purpose of life. Such a vision is elaborated in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh.
Bahá’ís in Marbella and around the world, along with others of all ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds, are learning to apply Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings to contribute to social change. They are striving to establish community development processes in their neighbourhoods. In these relatively small geographic contexts, individuals and collectives of all backgrounds are learning to work together to improve the spiritual, economic and social life of their environment.
This process, sometimes referred to by Bahá’ís as “community building”, begins with a series of activities of an educational nature that are complemented by others of a devotional nature. However, as simple as it may seem at first, it is intended to empower growing groups of people to embark on a long-term path of collective transformation that will lead to sustainable neighbourhoods, towns and cities in all respects.
All of this builds greater capacity for service and collective action: to undertake educational activities that strengthen the character and moral and spiritual faculties of children; to accompany adolescents during a critical period of life to discover their true identity and to channel their energies towards service and the common good; to create spaces of collective empowerment where study groups can investigate reality and reflect together on the implications of spiritual teachings for their individual and collective lives and learn how to put them into practice; to connect with young people in society and put their talents at the service of social transformation.
All this collective action is imbued with a strong devotional character. The spiritual and devotional dimensions are fundamental to answering the yearning for meaning that lies in the human soul. It arouses very powerful forces that enable small groups to achieve great feats; it gives greater meaning to what is done; and, above all, it keeps always in the mind and heart the reminder that God is at the centre of all that we do. The most visible manifestation of this distinctive feature is the multiplication of collective prayer meetings as a further element of strengthening community life. Praying and meditating together with friends, neighbours and co-workers with whom one acts for collective transformation produces the deep bonds that are necessary to sustain long-term social engagement.