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Maria Sponsors Luncheon for the Homeless
Maria Bradfield mentioned at Feast that she would be sponsoring a luncheon for the homeless. Anyone can volunteer to sponsor such a luncheon. And so Maria was moved to do such a thing. The venue was the Shepherd Center Ministries located at 933 Roswell Street, Marietta GA, 30060, under the direction of Rev. Moore. We were really not planning to go. Some quotations about the poor were shared with the friends on the internet (see below), in attempt to give Maria moral support with the effort she was making. But, somehow, we found ourselves right in there, helping Maria accomplish her goals. And so we set out to Shepherd Center. The appointed time was 6.00 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, 2011. We got there a little after 5.00 p.m. to help set up tables and get everything ready. There were several volunteers who were ready to help load things out of the car. We placed several small beautifully decorated booklets up at the table in front. They consisted of copies of The Hidden Words, A Gift of Prayers and Selected Bahá’í Writings, and Bahá’í Teachings for a New Millennium.” A musician called Tammy came in and tested her microphones with her karaoke. I put up my keyboard, tested the microphones and everything was at the ready. And so the scene was set.
People started streaming in. There were approximately 40 homeless people and about 20 volunteers. Rev. Moore has another (I believe) trainee pastor who started the proceedings. He opened with prayers, allowed two songs from the musicians, and proceeded to preach the Word. By this time the volunteers were being served a delicious meal prepared by Maria – with a little help from Patsy. And so the evening went, with preaching interspersed with the meal and a little music from Tammy and Thozi. The songs Tammy sang included something that went like “He shall come again”. My songs were Good Neighbors, God is One, O God Educate These Children, Blessed is the Spot. Leslie, Maria’s daughter, made a very good rendition of her poem, “Unity,” which she rendered rhythmically in true rap style.
Towards the end of the evening I asked the pastor if I could say a few words. I applauded the pastor for saying such good things about how people should live in this world. I went on to introduce Maria, who was the reason we were all there. Maria’s mother, Leslie, Meagan and Patsy were all introduced. I proceeded to say we were all Bahá’ís and we are in tune with the teachings explained by the pastor. We also were hearing the same things in our religion. I proceeded to say Bahá’u’lláh has instructed us to look after homeless people. He said: “The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust.” I said this twice. I pointed out that homeless people are the trust of God. We are commanded to look after homeless people. I praised Rev. Moore for devoting his life for the service of the poor. I thanked Rev. Moore for making it possible for us to share in the bounty of giving to the poor, who are, in truth, God’s trust. Before sitting down, I pointed out that there was some literature (over at the front table) that we brought with us, and sat down.
When it was time to go, a flood of these volunteers came searching for the literature and helped themselves with whatever they could find. One may comment that the lyrics of some of the songs must have touched them. They were eager to get whatever they could lay their hands on.
I had earlier commented to the pastor that the combination of physical food and spiritual food is actually the best that anybody could have. When we left we gave Rev. Moore the lyrics to the songs “Precious Lord,” and “When the Saints,” with a request that next time we come we should get these same people singing along with the keyboard. We parted on a good note. Looking forward to go there again and warm the hearts with music and a few quotations from the Writings. Until next time, Adios!
(Quotations regarding the poor. Bold face added.)
They must do their utmost to extend at all times the helping hand to the poor, the sick, the disabled, the orphan, the widow, irrespective of color, caste, and creed. Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Administration, p. 38.
The Spiritual Assembly, in administering this Corporation, shall ever bear in mind the ideals upheld in the Sacred Writings of the Bahá’í Faith respecting the relationships of a Spiritual Assembly to its Bahá’í community, the relations of Bahá’ís to one another in the community and the relationships of Bahá’ís to all non- Bahá’ís, without prejudice of race, creed or nationality. The Assembly shall therefore above all recognize its sacred duty to maintain full and complete unity throughout the Bahá’í community, to relieve and comfort the sick and distressed, to assist the poor and destitute, to protect the orphans, the crippled and the aged … It shall regard its authority as a means of rendering service to Bahá’ís and non- Bahá’ís and not as a source of arbitrary power. Articles of Incorporation, Constitution, and By-Laws of the National Spiritual Assembly.
Briefly, every nation has a day to mark as a holiday which they celebrate with joy. In the sacred laws of God, in every cycle and dispensation, there are blessed feasts, holidays and workless days. On such days all kinds of occupations, commerce, industry, agriculture, etc., are not allowed. Every work is unlawful. All must enjoy a good time, gather together, hold general meetings, become as one assembly, so that the national oneness, unity and harmony may become personified in all eyes. As it is a blessed day it should not be neglected or without results by making it a day limited to the fruits of mere pleasure. During such blessed days institutions should be founded that may be of permanent benefit and value to the people so that in current conversation and in history it may become widely known that such a good work was inaugurated on such a feast day. Therefore, the intelligent must search and investigate reality to find out what important affair, what philanthropic institutions are most needed and what foundations should be laid for the community on that particular day, so that they may be established. For example, if they find that the community needs morality, then they may lay down the foundation of good morals on that day. If the community be in need of spreading sciences and widening the circle of knowledge, on that day they should proceed in that direction, that is to say, direct the thoughts of all the people to that philanthropic cause. If, however, the community is in need of widening the circle of commerce or industry or agriculture they should start the means so that the desired aim may be attained. If the community needs protection, proper support and care of orphans, they should act upon the welfare of the orphans, etc. Such undertakings that are beneficial to the poor, the weak and the helpless should be pursued in order that, on that day, through the unity of all and through great meetings, results may be obtained, the glory and blessings of that day may be declared and manifest.
O YE RICH ONES ON EARTH! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.