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Karl Sigurbjörnsson

Peace and Hope

Peace be with you.

Your Holiness, Dalai Lama. Heartily welcome!

Here we are gathered representatives of the various religions that form the Interreligious Forum in Iceland. The Forum is established to further respect and understanding between our faith communities and thus promote peace and hope in our country and for this world.

We are well aware that we are just at the beginning of a long journey.

This gathering here in this sancturary is to pay our deep respect and to honour your untiring witness to peace and hope.

The sufferings of your people and country, Tibet, from which you had to flee fifty years ago, has touched a deep cord in the our hearts. We Icelanders are a small nation cherishing in our freedom and we can identify with the pain of oppression. In a world of escalating violence, hate and retaliation your witness to the way of peace, compassion and reconciliation has been beacon for us all.
We want to pay our respect and gratitude for your work for understanding, tolerance and love between peoples, nations and religions. That is a message our world needs to hear and take to heart.

Our gathering here bears witness to our will to make our contribution in working for understanding and peace between religions in Iceland and do our bit in promoting freedom and peace in our world and work for the healing of the wounds of the earth and her children.

As your Holiness has relentlessly stressed, humankind in all its diversity is one family. That message resounds in our hearts, whatever faith or worldview we have. We are all brothers and sisters. Our stories maybe different, but our lives stem from the same earth, we share in the same humanity. We may be different in many respects, and often we don´t understand each other. But still we share a common language. The cry uttered when we are born into this world, and the breath that fills our lungs, the heart beating in our breasts and veins, the smiles and laughter - your Holiness is so generous of -, it is a common language we understand, and so are the expressions and actions of love and care, that trancend words. We are brothers and sisters, sharing common humanity. When will we ever learn?

Faith seeks strength and guidance in higher powers and wisdom. We all need that power and wisdom to guide us on the way of the good. All people of good will must join hands in that endevor.

Now we pause in this holy place to listen to the voice of peace and hope, conveyed in holy scriptures and our different spiritual traditions, and your message, we´ve so eagerly waited for, dear brother.

• • •

Closing Words

Your Holiness Dalai Lama. Thank you for coming. Thank you for your message.

And you all, religious leaders and representatives, thank you for sharing with us sacred texts of scriptures and of spiritual heritage, you musicians, thank you for the music, the beauty and peace and hope it brings.

We are all called to be peacemakers and instruments of peace. May we all be strengthened in that calling.

Now let us go in Peace and Hope.

May peace reign and justice bloom so we may overcome injustice and evil, so our children and desendants may enjoy dignity, beauty and security on this wonderful world. May the spirit of peace and love show us the peace we can do without, and the peace we ought to seek, the peace we ought to keep, peace of compassion and mercy, peace of faith, hope and love.

May there be peace on earth and in our hearts.

Hallgrímskirkja, June 1st 2009.

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