Tuesday, March 8, 2011

All Things Sacred

I have met a champion for peace, Orlyn Kringstad, a gentleman of proud Norwegian heritage, who happens to live here in Minnesota.  Outside of Norway, there is one Oslo Peace Center affiliate organization -- and what are the chances that it is literally fifteen minutes from my home.  Mr. Kingstad is the Executive Director of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights-US  located in "prestigious West Bloomington" Minnesota...  just look for the big Norwegian flag near the Bush Lake ski jump. ;-)  The Oslo Center was a sponsor for the Nobel Peace Forum last weekend and provided exquisite handmade peace rugs to the speakers.

The Oslo Center has worked with religious leaders in the Middle East to create an amazing tool called the Universal Code for Sacred Sites.  As I leave for the meeting of First Nations elders this week in Phoenix, I am so pleased to have a working document that can be the basis for dialogue, a place to start.  

As I read it the Code the first time, I was struck by how Christian, Muslim and Jewish sacred sites are so tied to man-made buildings and how much conflict is birthed out of a desire to control  and have access to those locations.   In contrast, Indigenous leaders recognize that the whole earth should be treated as sacred and that all is connected.  It's not about buildings, but our home, planet earth as a place of worship.  As one elder shared this week, rather than protecting a spot of concrete on the earth where people expect to meet God, why don't the "three major religions" focus on stewardship of the sacred planet God put us all on. 

Got me thinking about the terms "sacred" and "holy."  What if people began to see the whole world and all of creation as sacred, recognizing that we are to be stewards not consumers.  What if we began to see each person on the earth as unique, special and sacred, designed to be holy, set apart for good and connected to God.  What if we truly understood our calling to be in communion and communication with our Creator.  What if we began to lived like we were sacred.  What if each of us made choices that honored God and truly honored each other.  What if we saw ourselves and others like God sees us.  What if my highest calling for today was simply to sit and listen to God, asking Him to open my eyes to the things that are sacred and to help me discern how to honor Him...