I read two things today that moved me to write this post.
The first was an article that predicted that the next few years may be even more challenging than the Great Depression.
The second was a letter from the Universal House of Justice that said, among other things: “Local Spiritual Assemblies in particular should consider what means might be within their power to prevent, relieve, or mitigate suffering in the wider society of which they are an integral part.”
During the first great depression, the Baha’is of Chicago ran a soup kitchen for the needy. Thinking big is not something we should be afraid of.
But before we think big, I recommend that we start small(er). I would like to see every Local Spiritual Assembly take a serious and detailed look at the health, economic, and spiritual/social needs of every single individual within their community, and prayerfully consider what their long-term needs might be. (The ripples of this pandemic could go on for many years.)
This will necessitate more than just making a general inquiry as to how everyone is doing. It will involve brainstorming on what kinds of services might be needed and what kinds of talents and capacities are available to meet those needs.
It will involve individual, PERSONAL phone calls to every single member of the community to find out what their health situation is, their financial situation, their transportation situation is, and their mental health. These calls might take an hour or more, as people slowly open up to share their real needs, and will require wisdom and tact to walk the line between showing concern and being nosey.
It will also involve asking people to step up to be of service to other community members. This is not “what can we do for you?” but rather “what can we do for each other?”
In short, it will require the Community to act like a community.
Once the Community is functioning as a community, then it is important to start looking outward to see what your area’s needs are.
What can you do to help? Free bagged lunches are not out of the question, but neither are masks, or offers to grocery shop or pick up medications.
How about one-on-one video story time for kids, gifts of prayer books to hospitals, toothbrushes to shelters, mowing lawns for the elderly, comfort coins for the anxious – the possible types of service are endless.
Meanwhile, the needs are likely to change as the waves of infections, lay-offs and uncertainties stack up on top of each other.
A lot of you have been waiting for the calamities to come shake up the world. Is this it? Who knows. What I do know is that this is the greatest opportunity for the Baha’is to serve the world that I’ve ever witnessed.
We are being given a gift. Will we take it?
A lot of people are feeling anxious about the future. Comfort Coins are a simple tool that can help people relax and feel more competent and optimistic. They come in kid’s version with a “Cuddlebunny” and an adult version with three additional coins.