Holy Birthday to You (and me).

It was a fine day yesterday, hanging out with the Bahá’ís as the community and its friends celebrated one of the Faith’s holy days, the birth of its Founder, Bahá’u’lláh.* He was born in Tehran in 1817, and it occurs to me to imagine that the twelfth of November eleven years from now will be a big day in the Bahá’í universe. (And baby, better stand back when those crazy Bahá’ís start celebrating…!)

Okay, so there probably won’t be a need for riot police and pepper spray, but I like partying with the nine-pointed stars and their friends anyway. The courtesy never fails to refresh, the greetings are warm and the laughter comes easily. (In fact, I found the conversations so good that I forgot to elbow my way to the dessert table. Shocking omission, yes, but I’d warmed up with a neighbourly lunch before the afternoon bonanza.)

And it’s important fun, if that’s allowed. (Too often, there’s a nearly iron-bound divider between amusement — must be extreme, loud, trivial — and social betterment — must be stern, humourless and apocalyptic.Yesterday, it was. Solemn prayer beside the balloons. Learning along with every second conversational giggle. One aspect of community education is key: we’re understanding, steady by quick, how to not just tolerate but to venerate, to celebrate diversity while we stand together on the essentials. So a 15-year-old classical violinist shared the stage with a young white gospel singer, and exuberant African drumming and singing followed the plaintive strains of traditional Persian drumming, singing and the plucking of the tar. French, English, Arabic and Farsi were spoken. It was a smorgasbord. (Thank-you, Sweden, for that tasty word.)

(* Yes, faithful readers, give yourself a bonus point in the standings if you correctly identified Bahá’u’lláh as the “Persian exile” in the November 11 post. Give yourself two points if you hit the link either time.)

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