Peaceful Bonds

22 10 2012

BY JIM POIRIER, Presiding Bishopric

Sikhs in India have provided striking architecture, such as this temple in Amritsar.

We strolled through the large furniture warehouse. We began to focus on one particular piece. As we looked around for a salesperson, my eyes caught the attention of a timid gentleman wearing a turban coming toward us.

I knew this man had committed his life to God through the Sikh faith. Wearing a turban is one outward symbol of the Sikh and signifies the highest level of faithful participation in his faith. His name tag said “Bobby,” but this was likely a nickname to help customers remember his name over his real name. Bobby knew he looked differently than I, and he expected I would be like other customers and turn away when noticing the “difference.”

I did not and waited for him to come closer. We exchanged pleasantries, and then he nervously explained the features of the sectional that we finally agreed to buy. We agreed to a price, and he went to complete the paperwork.

As we signed the documents, I asked him, “Which gurdwara do you worship in?” He looked surprised. He told me it was the same “temple” where I worshiped with the “Encounter World Religions Centre,” a program offered through the Canada East Mission Centre (www.worldreligions.ca).

I told him I knew a leader of the congregation—again to his surprise—and that I had shared in the prasad (grace) and langar (common meal). As we talked we discovered how similar we were. In the end we bowed to each other, a sign of brotherhood and reverence. I can only imagine the stories he shared with his family about our experience.

He closed the transaction with the words, “The next time you are at the gurdwara, we will share langar.” A bond of peace was formed.

Pursuing peace asks for our willingness to understand and encounter someone who looks different but shares a similar faith journey. St. Augustine wrote, “Audi partem alteram,”or “Hear the other side.”

As we look at others from the perspective of companions on the journey, bonds are created. Listening to their story and sharing ours is the basis for peaceful encounters. Bonds of peace and friendship are forged. As you Pursue Peace on Earth, take time to learn about others who share a common faith journey and seek peaceful understanding.

From our Enduring Principles, “We celebrate God’s peace wherever it appears or is being pursued by people of good will.”

After this article was written, the people in a gurdwara in Wisconsin suffered through a shooting. Community of Christ joins with the National Council of Churches in reaching out to the Sikh community and to the families of those lost in this tragedy.


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3 responses

26 10 2012
Rebecca Newcom Belcher

I appreciated you sharing this encounter with us. Someday we may come to appreciate our “differences” which leads us all to the same God. Rebecca Newcom Belcher

23 10 2012
William RAISER

Treasure our differences.

22 10 2012
terryflowersblog

Sharing person to person with those who are different from ourself goes a long way in bringing understanding and peace. I work with a Sikh and have had the opportunity to share my faith and to learn from her about her faith. Truely an uplifting and eye-opening experience. I even had the opportunity to share this story with her when I received the printed copy of the Herald. There is great need for more of this in our world ~




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