October 7th, 2012 | Posted by: Stephen Goeman
This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post. Below is a link to the full original article.
We’re aware of the irony: three atheists are driving from Cambridge, through Somerville, and into Medford, Massachusetts–en route to a Gurdwara while blasting Christian hymns on the radio. The church organ’s hazy echo transforms Chelsea’s stereo into a time machine, conjuring images of sweater vests and Sunday mornings past. It’s nice to have an excuse to wear a tie. I realize I don’t mind being up before noon on a weekend, a rare thought for this twenty-something.
We pull up to the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar and I am immediately struck by its simplicity. The building could easily pass for any of the restaurants it borders on Mystic Avenue. We join a group of more than 25 in front of the Gurdwara, gathered by Assistant Humanist Chaplain Chris Stedman: Muslims, Christians, Pagans, Zoroastrians and atheists stand united in their support of a community recently hit with tragedy. A Sikh man bows towards the Nishan Sahib, a holy flag raised high outside the Gurdwara, before entering. A small group stands outside the building, holding posters that state their support for a community touched by tragedy. While we make small talk and wait for the last members of our group to arrive, a Sikh woman embraces a Muslim woman in our group and thanks her for coming. The love and gratitude felt by the Sikhs of Medford is palpable.