last sunday's gurdwara shooting near milwaukee. it was over 60 miles and an hour away and I went for 2 reasons: as a representative of one of the local uu congregations (and as a rep from another congregation where I'd interned), and so as a member of the community; and as a visitor earlier this summer to this same gurdwara for a service. in both instances, I felt welcomed, appreciated, and loved.
I think this is one of the things I do best, to be a visitor to other faiths. I enjoy seeing people when they are at their most reverent and joining them in worship. in the case of sikhs, of course, I can't pray with them because I don't speak punjabi, but I stand and bow and make obeisance when they do. I rock gently while listening to the tablas and during prayers. I feel a part of them for those hours and it is a holy, hopeful feeling. there were easily several hundred people filling the gurdwara tonight, sitting in shirts and ties and stockinged feet, christians and jews and muslims and buddhists and likely some atheists (and at least a couple uus, me and my former intern supervisor, his baha'i wife, and a quaker I know from seminary), all of us in the cool night air, the mix of body smells and chants and photos of the dead on the screens above us and then outside standing yards from the interstate with our little cups of light, and then inside again for lentils and chapati and dal and rice and fruit, and finally back into the night air to drive home with the windows down and the radio playing really low and feeling like for this moment everything is right with the world.