Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mosque Visits

“Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ…” Romans 13:14a

Zari’s close relative died overseas so she and her husband put on a memorial time at a local mosque which consisted of prayers and a meal. She invited me to join them at the mosque. I chose a modest long tunic top and slacks to wear and took along a head scarf. Before going I spent time in prayer asking God to clothe me with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. After finding the ladies prayer room I joined them sitting quietly on the carpet as they closed saying their prayers for the deceased. Then we gathered in the gym for a lavish meal which Zari and her husband provided for the 200 guests. A large industrial vinyl curtain segregated the men and women. Zari was brave to invite me and joined me at the dinner table. I overheard some ladies at our table whisper in their language that I must be with the church. They were a conservative group of Muslim women not used to contact with Christians; especially in the mosque. After the meal someone turned off the lights momentarily signalling that men and women should say good-bye and go out to their cars. Segregation was kept tight to the end. It was such an honor to be invited and mingle among them.

Recently the mosque put on a “Celebration of Muslim Cultures” event which we attended. It was held in the mosque gym. Outside a Muslim man sold slaughtered chickens and farm eggs and hijab clad little girls ran about chattering happily. When we got inside we signed the guest book and were given a glossy brochure about Discovering Islam. The sheikh greeted us. The gym was set up with many tables displaying ethnic foods and artifacts and the men and women wore their cultural clothes. Suddenly my friend Amina came up to me. She, like Zari, was brave to come up to me when other Muslims were watching us closely. She hugged me and introduced me to many ladies. I moved from table to table which were mostly being overseen by university students. Their parents hung around the tables. It was clearly meant to be an intergenerational event. A convert lady to Islam introduced herself. I asked her to share her journey with me which she did. “I was brought up in church but no one showed me how to pray or worship. When I came to the mosque it all fell in place. I got my first sense of God-consciousness at the prayer time.” I didn’t want to get into a debate but rather listen and try to understand her journey. Then she said, “I can see you have a God-consciousness.” I don’t think that will be our last conversation. It was an awesome time being in the midst of those beautiful people appreciating their cultural diversity. I marvel what happens when I visit them on their turf. The Holy Spirit pours an overflowing fountain of love into me and it splashes over. Jesus, through me, is making a visit and it is exciting to follow Him around.

Dear heavenly Father, I know that Jesus will visit anywhere. Take me with You. Amen.