30 Days of Love: 10/30
An important part of my making sense of myself and the world has always been to travel. Sometimes my travel only took me city blocks away to a world that seemed far removed, other times I was able to board planes that took me to Muslim countries such as Morocco and Malaysia. The most frequent type of travel I did as a college student however, was to other places of worship.
Much of my studies and work as an undergraduate in Washington, DC was religion and focused around understanding other faith traditions. This took me not only to Muslim countries, but to Quaker Meeting House and Sikh Gurudwaras. Through these experiences I gained a great understanding of the tradition, and also developed relationships with people I would not have otherwise been in contact with.
Part of my work involved attending services at gurudwaras, enabling me to experience the power of kirtan (chanting), and enjoying langar, the community dinner served to all after services. I also talked with members and leaders of the temple about their community. This enabled me to not only understand a religion, but form relationships with people. Even after doing this for work, I’ve found that going to other religious services is an incredibly rewarding experience for me, and that those I visit are proud and honored to talk about their faith, community and worship space.
January 28, 2013. Attend Service of another faith.
This weekend, I invite you to try this out for yourself. It is always best to contact the community before going to make sure it would be alright if you could come on that particular day. If you have never been to this type of service, do let them know so they can inform you of anything you should be aware of.
The first time I went to a Sikh gurudwara, for example, I would have brought my own scarf had I known I needed to cover my head, as the small scarves the temple provided were not quite enough for my big hair. Learn from my mistake and do your research and ask questions before going. Remember that you are entering into their space, so always be reserved and respectful, following the lead of others during services, and only doing what you feel comfortable. Most importantly, be open and ask questions, there is so much to learn.