“Spring has sprung – The grass has riz – Where last year’s careless driver is.”
Anyone still around old enough to remember the old Burma Shave signs that once appeared along rural roads, one phrase at a time every few miles apart, may remember this one. According to the calendar spring has sprung, but according to the thermometer, it’s not yet sure.
On March 20 Roanoke City Baha’is joyously celebrated the beginning of spring with a New Year’s celebration that falls simultaneously each year with the vernal equinox. The event followed the observance of the Feast of Baha (Splendor), the first Feast of the New Year, attended by local Baha’is along with others who come from out of town. What a beautiful and appropriate time of year to celebrate a new year when all things in nature are being rejuvenated and made new. Already flowers are blooming and trees are beginning to blossom and bear leaves as the chilling winds of Old Man Winter continue to fight to the bitter end.
The Baha’i New Year is preceded by the 19-day Fast between sun up and sundown during which time special dawn prayers and others throughout the day whet our spiritual appetites and give us more discipline over physical desires. During this special period not only is the habit of daily devotions reinforced, but also the combined spiritual impetus of the effects seems to create unimaginable occurrences.
We become more aware each day that we are in an unfair world. But we fail to see or to acknowledge the fact that we contribute to its injustice–by not actively participating in some way (large or small) to whatever would aid and abet justice, or we may just find it easier to “sin by silence.” Why not come and investigate the diverse group of individuals associated with LAAM (Local Association for the Advancement of Mankind) who gather every Saturday morning at 10:00 at the Community Action Center at Melrose Ave. and 15th St. NW, for the purpose of coordinating efforts to assist in the betterment of current inequitable situations. Or join in the Interfaith Hour of Prayer that follows between 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the same location.
For this is a New Year! Not just another cycle of the sun but the beginning of a New Cycle of Reality; a New Age, a New Century, a New Time, a New Day! Therefore it is very blessed! “The rising of the sun at the equinox is the symbol of life and is likewise the symbol of the Divine Manifestations of God, signalizing New Life for the world,” state the Baha’i Holy Writings.
“Human reality begins to live, our thoughts are transformed and our intelligence quickened. The Sun of Truth bestows eternal life just as the solar sun is the cause of terrestrial life for this period of time is the Promised Age! Soon the whole world, as in springtime, will change its garb, for the New Year hath appeared and the Spiritual Springtime is at hand!” ~ ‘Abdu’l-Baha