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The last month has been overflowing with excitement and joy as this Ridvan the 13th International Baha’i Convention was held in Haifa in order to elect the Universal House of Justice. Delegates from all over the planet gathered together and, by following along with the Baha’i World News Service, the jubilation and thrill of the gathering was palpable all over the globe. You know that sentence where Abdu’l-Baha says, “When a man turns his face to God he finds sunshine everywhere”? I feel like those words were embodied in the vibrant portraits captured by Edit Kalman, a talented photographer and a delegate from Hungary who took several hundred photographs of delegates and volunteers and the Baha’i gardens in Haifa and Akka. It was a treat to hear from Edit about her photographs and to feature a small visual feast of them on Baha’i Blog.
Working to produce an audio reading of the Ridvan message is also a bit of an adrenaline rush — not only because we are all eager to read this love letter from the House of Justice to each and every one of us, but also because we gently vie with ourselves to see how swiftly we can produce it. We are so thankful to Alan and Lorraine Manifold for putting it together so quickly and beautifully.
And what a glorious message it was! Like many others, I was absolutely floored with the news announcing the plans to build more Houses of Worship, including a national Temple in my home country of Canada! And I have been mulling over this sentence and what it might mean for our efforts here at Baha’i Blog:
“In this new series of Plans, increasing attention needs to be given to other processes that seek to enhance the life of a community—for example, by improving public health, protecting the environment, or drawing more effectively on the power of the arts.”
In a manifestation of the power of the arts, I absolutely loved watching the cinematic materials that were created for International Convention and that were released for us all to enjoy and reflect upon. A short film was created about the ongoing construction of the Shrine of Abdu’l-Baha and An Expansive Prospect beautifully highlights efforts in four regions of the world where people, communities, and institutions are striving together to channel the transformative power of the Baha’i teachings toward social change.
The team at Baha’i Blog also created a short video in honour of the Ridvan period and its retelling of Nabil’s account of the roses and nightingales in the garden in Baghdad becomes all the more powerful as metaphors for the flourishing we are witnessing the world over.
Fuelled with inspiration and energy for the work ahead, I am heading into the month of Azamat with one particular radiant person in mind, someone who personified sunshine and warmth, especially in her love for children: Mona Mahmudnizhad. June 18th marks the 40th anniversary of her execution and the extinguishing, in this world, of her bright light. In the days to come I will call on her in my prayers to help bring light to dark places, and sunshine to the shadows.
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