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Baisakhi: A Sikh celebration of commitment

To value commitment.

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To value commitment.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need four cards, with SPORT, FAITH, LEARNING and CREATIVITY written on them, and four volunteers to hold the cards.
  • Another card with the word COMMITMENT on it.
  • Additional information about the festival from <www.allaboutsikhs.com>. This festival is the celebration of the Sikh New Year and falls on 13-14 April.

Assembly

  1. Imagine the scene. You are standing with the rest of your people in an open area surrounded by your enemies on all sides. It is 1699 and your people have suffered for many years. You all feel defeated, weak, helpless and without hope. Your leader comes out of his tent and begins to speak. A hush descends over the whole crowd. What could he say to encourage you now? Twenty thousand faces turn to look expectantly at this leader, this Guru, feeling nervous and excited at the same time.

    ‘I need a Sikh who is willing to die for the God of his people.’

    What? What is he saying? He needs someone willing to die for God?

    ‘I need a Sikh who is willing to die for the God of his people.’

    Has he gone mad? Surely nobody wants to die. That was why they had all gathered here today.

    ‘I need a Sikh who is willing to die for the God of his people.’

    Your eyes scan the crowd, looking to see if anyone will volunteer. Everyone is looking at their feet. No one is moving. But wait. One man steps forward and enters the Guru’s tent with the Guru.

    And now everyone is whispering, wondering what is going to happen. Then here comes the Guru. All by himself. With a sword covered in blood in his hand! The Guru speaks up again.

    ‘Who is now willing to sacrifice himself for God?’

    Everyone is in shock. You are horrified. Has the Guru killed the man? Surely no one else would volunteer now. But then another man steps up and goes into the tent with the Guru.

    Again the Guru comes out alone, with a sword covered in blood. You cannot believe your eyes. Another man goes forward. And then another. Five in total. And five times, the Guru comes out alone with blood on his sword.

    But what is this? There is movement at the entrance to the tent. All five men come out alive! The Guru lifts his hand and silence falls. He speaks and everyone listens.

    ‘This was a test to see who was brave enough and willing to give up everything to show how much they are devoted to God.’

    Wow! A test! You cannot believe your ears. You have never seen such devotion. Such commitment. You know in your heart that this special day will always be celebrated by your people.

  2. This leader was Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last human Guru of the Sikh religion. These five men were to become the first members of a group called the Khalsa, who would defend the Sikh faith and care for the poor and helpless. This special day is still remembered every year by Sikhs on 13 April. It is called Baisakhi and it is a New Year festival in the Sikh calendar, celebrated traditionally by Sikhs all over the world. On this special day, men and women from as young as 16 are initiated into the Khalsa. They make a commitment to the Sikh way of life, just as those five men did so dramatically in that scene all those years ago.
  3. For each of us, commitment is an important part of life. We have to show commitment to the activities that we are involved in. Let us consider some examples.

    Invite four volunteers to come up to the front to hold the four cards.

    SPORT

    Maybe you play football or netball. Maybe you love gymnastics or swimming. How would someone show commitment to their sport?

    Invite suggestions if you feel comfortable with that. Here are some suggestions:

    • Stay healthy by eating the right food and exercising.
    • Turn up to training even if you don’t feel like it.
    • Listen to the coach and try your hardest to do what they say.

    FAITH

    Maybe you are a Sikh or a Christian. Maybe you are a Hindu or a Muslim. How would someone show commitment to their faith?

    Invite suggestions if you feel comfortable with that. Here are some suggestions:

    • Find out more about your faith from your leaders and your Holy Book.
    • Meet regularly with people who share your faith.
    • Learn to live your life by the rules of your faith.

    LEARNING

    Maybe you are interested in maths or fascinated by science. Maybe you love literacy or history. How would someone show commitment to their learning?

    Invite suggestions if you feel comfortable with that. Here are some suggestions: 

    • Try your hardest in lessons even when the work is difficult.
    • Do the homework that is set every week.
    • Listen to your teacher.

    CREATIVITY

    Maybe you love singing or dancing. Maybe you are good at art or playing the piano. How would someone show commitment to their creativity?

    Invite suggestions if you feel comfortable with that. Here are some suggestions:

    • Keep practising over and over and over again.
    • Carry on even if your friends say unkind things.
    • Go to rehearsals even if you have something more exciting to do.
  4. This story that we have heard today from the Sikh religion about Guru Gobind Singh is a remarkable example of commitment. People all around us today also show amazing commitment to their faith, their education, their sport, their work and their artistic talent. Look out for examples on the television or in the news in this next week.

Time for reflection

How about you? In what area of your life do you show commitment? Take a moment to think about that question now.

Here are some examples to finish with …

 

Hold up the word COMMITMENT and point to each letter in turn:

COMMITMENT is …

Cleaning out your rabbit beforeyou watch TV.

Opening the Holy Book of your religion to see what it has to say for you.

Memorizing the words to the whole song.

Making the most of every opportunity.

Inspiring yourself to follow your dream.

Taking your dog for a walk in the rain.

Maximizing your potential.

Exercising every day.

Not making excuses.

Taking a turn on the bench as a substitute.

Let us learn to show commitment in all that we do.
Let us always do our very best.
Let us be the best that we can be.

Song/music

‘When a knight won his spurs’ (Come and Praise, 50)

Publication date: April 2013   (Vol.15 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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