Visit to Sikh Gurdwara

Today we visited a special service at the Gurdwara of the Sikh Religious Society of South Carolina.  They are warm and gracious hosts, first insisting we enjoy some of the Indian breakfast food being served, then providing my husband with a head covering (I brought my own scarf).  While most people sit on the floor, after more than two hours of hymns and recitations, the young women sitting around me realized that I was in pain and all rushed to get me a comfortable chair, even in the middle of the service.  The harmonium and tabla music are enchantingly conducive to meditation.  Since I do not understand the language, I very much enjoyed sitting in the morning light coming through clerestory windows surrounded by the gorgeous colors worn by the women on our side of the room.  One woman came over to be sure we could see the translated hymn lyrics being projected.  I asked her the meaning of a symbol in front of the holy book in its shrine, and later the speaker took time to hold up the symbol and give us a detailed explanation.  It’s called an Ik Onkar, by the way, and you can read more about it here.  Thursday I hope to attend a panel on Islam being held in Newberry (SC);  Friday and Saturday the local Quakers are holding discussion groups, and on Sunday Earthsong Pagan chorus will be among a number of religious groups performing at the Newberry Opera House event, “Spirituality Expressed Through the Arts.”  If you would like to visit one of the special events and services being held during S.C. Interfaith Harmony Month (and in February, too), there’s a whole calendar of events here.  Top it off by attending Gathering of Faiths at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Sunday, February 17.

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