LYNSEY BAILEY reports on
On Sunday 4 June, in a very timely interfaith service, Mary McKenna had invited Trishna Singh to provide an insight into some of the practices and principles of Sikhism. Beginning with the time for all ages, we heard a traditional Sikh tale of a meditating crocodile and an arrogant priest who did not believe that a crocodile could have a sense of God. The moral being that we should always remember that regardless of our circumstances, we are all one. Once the children left for their activities, Trishna recited of the first part of the Sikh daily prayer (first in Punjabi, followed with an English translation) which affirms the oneness of God and creation. We then heard of how Sikhism was founded as a breakaway religion, drawing on both Hindu and Islamic thought. It was interesting to see the commonality and parallels with Unitarianism. Going on to hear about the principles and practices of a fully baptised Sikh took me back to what I had previously learned about Sikhism during a primary school project on India (such as the 5 Ks* that all Sikhs must wear and the festivals they celebrate). It was good to be reminded of this and really highlighted how, in the current climate, being willing to engage with those of other faiths to build understanding is so vital.
It was also very apropos, since sharing a meal following worship is a Sikh tradition, that we had our Bring and Share lunch following the service. Normally Bring and Share meals are an evening event, but on this occasion it was lovely to be able to include those for who evenings do not suit. The generosity of the contributions is always heartening and there is never any worry that anyone will go away hungry. The conversation flowed over lunch and, although I was sorry to have missed Trishna’s informal Q&A session while setting up for the lunch, I did manage to glean the gist of it and those who had attended found it very enlightening.
Given the awful events in London the night before, I think it was the type of day we all needed.
*The five Ks are:
Kesh (uncut hair)
Kara (a steel bracelet)
Kanga (a wooden comb)
Kaccha - also spelt, Kachh, Kachera (cotton underwear)
Kirpan (steel sword)