Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dress Up Time

“This one who is life from God was shown to us, and we have seen him….” I John 1:2a

It seems like females of all ages love dressing up anywhere in the world. When my granddaughters were younger they had a collection of dress up clothes, tiaras and high heels. They liked to pretend they were princesses or fairies. They loved to show off.

I was at Halima’s home watching her cook in the kitchen when she suddenly went to her bedroom and brought back a Somali dress and petticoat she wanted to give me as a gift for visiting her. She insisted I put them on right then. I obliged and she clapped her hands with delight, tucking in part of the floor length one-size- fits-all loose dress into the petticoat at my waist. The border of lace on the petticoat needed to be visible to give the full effect. I walked around showing it off and she just loved it.

My Libyan friend, Amal, invited me to a women’s party in her home. I was the only one who wasn’t a Libyan. Suddenly out of the clear blue she told me to come into her bedroom where she pulled out a traditional Libyan wedding outfit and dressed me up. The friends were delighted at the foreigner looking like one of them.

Samira from Indonesia fetched one of her hijabs and dressed me up in it. We stood before the bathroom mirror and she delightfully remarked, “You look like a Muslim now”.

You never know what to expect in Muslim ministry. The closer you get to the women the bigger the surprises. There’s a sweet bond that can evolve among Muslim and Christian friends. One of my Lebanese friends once remarked, “Joy, we are like little children. We are playful.” How true.

When a Muslim friend in the West wants to dress you up that is a sure sign that she is not viewing you so much as a “foreigner” anymore but feels a closeness to you. It isn’t to make you into a Muslim but her way of communicating that she loves you. She has now come to trust you. And when she trusts you the platform has been prepared by the Holy Spirit for you to share gospel truths on a deeper level. It may seem she is pretending you have become a Somali or Libyan by dressing you up but the truth of the matter is the closer we identify with them the more opportunities will arise for us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them. Jesus left His glory of heaven at one time and got dressed up differently for earth. It was not a pretend dress up game. Rather He did it to identify with humans in order to reveal the essence of the Father. His effort to identify with us in the flesh helped humans to better grasp the love of the Father.

Never underestimate the message that is being communicated when a Muslim friend dresses you up in her cultural attire. It’s more than a playful game of dress up. You have entered a new dimension of  evangelistic opportunity.

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for showing us what You are really like in the appearance of Jesus Christ. Amen.