A veiled Arab woman in Bersheeba, Palestine.

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Today, I visited St. Edmunds church (per Kiya‘s suggestion) for Sunday worship.  The church has a congregation of mostly senior citizens with those in the mid 30’s- 40’s also in attendance. There is not many young people (babies to 20 years of age) there, nevertheless I liked the church . This is the first time where I have attended a church that I can say is truly DIVERSE. Usually, the churches I have attended, although they may say they are diverse (which they are in many ways) there always seems to be some ethnic majority in the congregation. 

At St. Edmunds, there seems to be an equal mixture of races and ethnicities. In fact, walking up to the front door of the steps, I saw two elderly women (one caucasion and one of african descent) holding hands and aiding each other in the pathway to the church.

As I approached them, I stated, “Good morning. Is this St. Edmund’s church?”

With a bright smile, the caucasion women replied, “Yes, it is. Please come in.”

I entered the worship area and was greeted by Sarah, the pastor of the church.

While talking to Sarah, I overheard the elderly caucasian lady tell the african lady, “I’ve been here all these years and I’ve never welcomed someone in the church and they came right in. I’m glad she came.”

***

Later in the day, I was in the kitchen speaking to an international muslim student. Among our casual conversation, I told her I went to church today.

“Are you a Christian?” she asked with her hijab covering her head.

“Yes.”

“O okay. Do you practice your religion?”

Not fully understanding her question, I raised my eyebrows in confusion.

She continued, “A lot of people are religious, but they don’t practice their religion. For example, a lot of people are Muslims, but they don’t formally practice their religion. I practice my religion.”

My mind ran to a conversation the night before with another Muslim friend who stated that she does not wear the hijab because she does not feel she would do it justice right now due to her lifestyle. However, she knows that one day, she will wear the hijab, just not today.

Understanding her question, I answered yes, but her inquiry seemed to get at a question I had been asking myself for a while. I say I’m a Christian, but do I practice my religion. Those can be, at times, two separate realities…but should they be? No, I don’t have to wear a hijab but similiar to how the hijab is an outward expression of an inner committment to a higher being, I wonder if my lifestyle reflects that inner committment…. just a thought.

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