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Services offer reasons to reflect

People of faith have played key roles in Denton’s history, and many early settlers brought Bibles and religious texts along with the plows and other tools that they would need to carve out a home on the Texas prairie.

Some of the texts that found their way to Denton County were in languages other than English, brought from lands far from their owners’ new homes. Through the years, the promise of a better life in North Texas has attracted men and women of diverse cultures.

Denton County is now home to many centers of faith, reflecting our nation’s belief that all should be free to worship as they see fit. It is a fundamental right, protected by the First Amendment.

Today, two local observances of the National Day of Prayer will offer area residents opportunities to practice their faith and celebrate the diversity of life in Denton.

One service — scheduled at noon outside the Courthouse on the Square — is the most recognized in the area. It is led each year by Denton County Christian pastors, lay leaders and guests.

The annual Denton County event features music, a color guard, an arch of honor by the Denton Fire Department and a call to prayer. Attendees can get free Bibles, free prayer guides and white yard crosses.

The second service — an interfaith service at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 201 S. Locust St. — will be led by pastors of the Denton Faith Alliance.

The noon Denton County National Day of Prayer observance has historically been a Christian one. The majority of National Day of Prayer services across the country are led by Christians and make use of Christian theology. It reflects the National Day of Prayer’s national observance, led this year by honorary chairwoman Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of evangelical icon Billy Graham.

The interfaith service will include prayer and music with leaders from Jewish, Buddhist, Baha’i, Muslim, Pagan, Hindu, Unitarian Universalist and Christian traditions, organizers told us. Those who attend will use different words to offer prayers of praise, petition and providence, said the Rev. Pamela Wat, pastor of Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

We commend those involved in planning these services for offering their neighbors an opportunity to put down their cellphones and pause to reflect — the demands of modern life can seem to be overwhelming at times and most of us could use a break.

It is also an excellent opportunity to reach out to our fellow residents and learn more about them. We all share this community, and we probably have a lot more in common than we realize.

People of faith work for the good of their communities and help their neighbors from all walks of life.

That’s worth celebrating.