It's Happened Again

August 9th, 2012

It's happened again.  Three weeks ago we mourned when a hatefilled shooter went into an Aurora Theatre and killed twelve people he didn't know and wounded 58 others.  Last Sunday while we were in worship, another hatefilled shooter went into a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and killed five people he didn't know and wounded three others.  

One of my close friends in Indianapolis is KP Singh an artist and architect and a leader in the Indianapolis Sikh Temple.  KP made a beautiful drawing of St. Luke's United Methodist Church which was given to me on my retirement last year.  KP also accepted my invitation to be one of the three Wise Men in our annual live nativity pagent at St. Luke's.  I had to wear a costume to be one of the Wise Men but KP just wore his finest robe and headdress and was an authentic Wise Man.

KP taught me that the Sikh religion began about 500 years ago in the region between India and Pakistan when there were conflicts between Hindus and Muslims and discrimination against people on the basis of the caste they were born into.  A Hindu leader named Guru Nanak started the Sikh faith which brought Hindus and Muslims together, broke down the caste system and maintained that men and women were equal in the sight of the God who created all human beings.  

There are about 25 million Sikhs in the world who are dedicated to teaching tolerance of all religious traditions, equal treatment for men and women and work to bring peace among all people.

One of the key teachings of the Sikh faith is that we are created by one loving God and therefore we are all brothers and sisters to each other.  KP often says: "If you don't see God in all you don't see God at all." 

It is so tragic that members of this peaceful, loving community of tolerant Sikhs were killed and wounded by a man who was a part of a white supremacist movement which teaches hatred of Jewish people, African Americans and immigrants to this nation. 

When hatred and violence cast a dark cloud over our land, people of compassion and good will respond by shining the light of love and acceptance for all of God's children by our prayers, words and actions.  May this tragedy in Wisconsin inspire all of us to deepen our commitment to accepting all people as beloved children of God as taught by Jesus and by our Sikh brothers and sisters.  I will be practicing more random acts of kindness this week to strangers to bring more light to the world.  I hope you will also.

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