Sharing the Sacred, Serving the World was the theme that drew hundreds of people to Rio de Janeiro for URI’s Global Summit in 2002. Coined by Sarah Talcott, URI’s Global Youth Coordinator at the time, Sharing the Sacred broadcasts URI’s commitment to interfaith cooperation among people of all backgrounds. Almost twenty years later, URI’s lifeblood flows with attention and respect for what is sacred in our lives. Serving the World broadcasts URI’s fundamental principle of giving service for the common good. Almost twenty years later, the spirit of service energizes commitment to bring forth the best in one another and to serve the needs of the world.
Service can be incognito. It happens under the radar. We overlook its presence and its power if we don’t stop to notice and appreciate it. Through the years, millions and even billions of small acts of service aggregate with hundreds of thousands of organized acts of selfless service throughout URI’s global community. When I asked Cooperation Circle (URI member group) leaders what sustains them in their work, many answered like Rico Ocampo, Director of Camp Anytown CC in Las Vegas, Nevada:
“Mom told me that when I say ‘estoy a su servicio,’ it means I am in service to everyone who comes my way. It means to give the best of what we have in our home.”
Efforts to quantify hours of service, accumulated by thousands of volunteer members in Cooperation Circles and people serving in countless other ways, have defied counting and tabulating. Like kindness, personal transformation and empathy, service proves hard to measure. A young Cooperation Circle member in Cambodia sang me her favorite song, “It’s not about money, money, money.” An Indigenous woman patiently explained Mother Earth’s principle of reciprocidad – that giving and receiving is how the energy of life flows. Albert Einstein said, “It is high time that the ideal of success should be replaced by the ideal of service.”
Today, the call to share the sacred and serve the world inspires people all over the world to join URI as Cooperation Circles and as individuals. This spirit of service is fundamental to URI. It binds us together and guides us forward. Enduring, countless, daily acts of service, propelled by generous hearts, are seeds planted every day in URI’s global community. These seeds shoot joy and hope into the calamities and suffering that assail us. They burst forth as numberless acts of goodness and positive change. In all of our diversity, they bind us together and make us one.
Please feel free to comment. What acts of service inspire you… spontaneous, organized, big, small, completely-volunteer, or intermingled with income? It all counts!