In the 15th Century in India, Guru Nanak was desperate to find a path of peace among the many faiths in the region, and as an answer to his heartfelt, fervent prayers Sikhism was revealed. Sikhs dedicate themselves to serving the One God, doing good deeds for all (not just those they like), and in sharing what they have with those around them. Sikhs share many beliefs in common with Christians and Muslims (the dedication to One God and the Golden Rule, for example) – and they have been the victims of some horrific attacks by unbalanced, ignorant people. After the tragedy last August at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, members of the Jewish, Quaker, Episcopal, and Muslim communities – joined by members of many other faiths, also – met at the Taylorsville, Utah Gurdwara Sahib Sikh Temple for prayers and a candlelight vigil. Many faiths joined with the Sikh community sharing prayers for those hurt and killed, as well as thanks for friends, neighbors, and blessings from God.
One thing I particularly enjoy about the Sikh services is something which echoes right out of the New Testament. When Jesus taught, he liked to feed his listeners – and Sundays at the Sikh temple are never complete without a meal. I love the balance of physical nourishment accompanying the spiritual.
And what’s with the turban?
Many Sikhs will allow hair to grow naturally and uncut, as a symbol. Leaving some hair to grow as it will is done in recognition of the perfection, glory, and magnificence of God’s creation. When this is done and sheltered within a turban, it is called the Kesh; for those who choose to wear one it represents a truly beautiful aspect of their faith. I doubt I will ever wear the Kesh, but I admire those who do.