This morning I listened to the gentle quiet voice of a Sikh on "Thought for today" he was talking about a meeting of religious leaders at Lambeth Palace in millennium year when our present difficulties had not been thought of!
They tried to find a common thread in all religions.
It reminded me very strongly of my fellow teacher and friend back in the seventies.
He and his wife had fled from Uganda leaving all their belongings behind them in the face of huge hostility from Idi Amin.
He had found a job teaching and we became friends. He had already cut his hair and was eager to learn about other religions in this country. He was also keen to remain with the religion of his birth.
When his brother arrived in this country he was wearing his turban. My friend tried to persuade him that he needed to cut his hair to be accepted here.
Eventually he brought him to see me with the words that if anyone could persuade him that it could cause no offence to God it was me.
Kesh or the growing of the hair is symbolic of having a good loving relationship with God which is the core of their religion.
The night we cut the young man's hair remains one of the most intense of my life. He was around nineteen years old and he trusted his brother and by extension me, his brothers friend.
The amount of hair under his turban was astonishing. I cut it gently and carefully, talking about God as I went.
Since those days I have moved several times. I left Lancashire and lost touch with my former colleague and friend...
I have often wondered if we did the right thing by the young man.
Listening to the Sikh on the radio this morning I still wonder...
Their aims are still my aims....to have a loving relationship with God has been possible for me despite having my hair cut...I just pray that someone brought up in a different culture can say the same after a gap of forty odd years.
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