(A little reflection after our time at the Islamic Centre on Sunday)
Our church was invited to an open house at our local Islamic Centre and a group of us went after church on Sunday.
When I entered the room I was greeted warmly and a young girl in a Hijab quickly got me and my daughters a chair. She was sweet, a counselor and psychologist I would later learn.
I was ushered over to a table full of flavorful, spicy, and sweet food. I filled up to the rafters with biriani and baclava. My girls were so excited to have flowers drawn on their hands with henna and quickly devoured the lollipops handed to them.
I watched as both people from our church and the people from the centre both were smiling and laughing together. There were so many smiles on Sunday.
I struck up a conversation with a man named Mohamed. He's an engineer and has been in Canada for a decade -- a citizen, an immigrant -- just like me.
"we need to come to your church too!" he said.
"Of course! we have a chili-fest with lots of free food just like this. I will make sure we send over invitations when the time comes" I replied.
I was amazed that by us coming to them, it inspired them to come to us as well.
The conversation turned to politics and current events.
You need to pray, Justin. - Said Mohammed.
No need to worry about things you cannot change. You need to pray instead.
I wonder if Mohammed has ever read Philippians, because his words reminded me of the apostle Paul's. I was taken aback at how much Mohamed's call for me to pray hit me. He was right. I've been worrying too much and not praying.
We left with full hearts and lots of love for the hospitality we received by our muslim neighbors. As I sit to reflect I'm reminded of Jesus at the well in John 4.
In this story Jesus is not the giver of hospitality, but the receiver of it.
Jesus let himself be served by a samaritan woman.
Jesus didn't grab the cup from the woman and insist he fetch the water for her. Somehow that wouldn't have been as effective as what he did do, which was to allow her to serve him. In doing so, He honored her.
Jesus did have something to give to the woman: Living Water. But first, he also acknowledged that he also needed something she had: He wanted a glass of water.
It opened the door and it honored her.
as a Christian I believe that Jesus has something to give that our muslim neighbors need. I want them to know the gospel and the love of Christ. But first we had to receive what they could give us.
It opened the door and it honored them.
And it was beautiful.