Will we put our hands together to pray?

3455167464_f04814b6a6_b

Every morning I, David, pray with Jews,
my brothers, my sisters. Their scripture
fallen into my hands, fills my mind,
names me. I take their prayers,
the longing of their psalms,
I hear their pain, share their dreams,
my amen I join to theirs.

And I regret every morning
I can’t pray with more distant relatives,
my brothers, my sisters, children of Hagar.
A step too far. What are their longings,
what are their dreams?
I pray, that as I pray, they pray,
with me, for me, amen.

 

The photo is by mrehan, found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrehan00/3455167464

from Max Warren

When we approach the man of another faith than our own it will be in a spirit of expectancy to find how God has been speaking to him and what new understandings of the grace and love of God we may ourselves discover in this encounter. Our first task in approaching another people, another culture, another religion, is to take off our shoes, for the place we are approaching is holy. Else we may find ourselves treading on men’s dreams. More serious still, we may forget that God was here before our arrival.
Picked up from Simon Marsh’s blog.

Strangers

We have heard it said “beware of strangers” – usually because of what they are liable to take – our jobs, our women, our money.

The Bible encourages us to welcome the stranger. Many are mentioned in the Bible as people who are welcomed as gifts from God (like Melchizedek, Pharoah, Ruth, Queen of Sheba, the Canaanite woman – and many others). Jesus himself is seen as a stranger and sees himself as a stranger – he sees himself in the outsider, the poor, the prisoner and the sick and teaches his disciples to recognise him in the stranger and outsider. (Matthew 25)

We have much to learn about entertaining strangers. Here’s one story which Sam Wells tells in his book, God’s Companions. It is about a couple who go on holiday and take a lift to a scenic viewpoint. They had a Muslim guide. They rushed off to take some photographs, and then realised that they had not seen their guide for some time. Walking around a corner they saw him, semi-prostrate, praying to God. They were humbled realising how they and he had spent the last 15 minutes. They talked about this when they got home and shared this prayer with their congregation:

“If I love thee for hope of heaven, then deny me heaven;
If I love thee for fear of hell, then deny me hell;
But if I love thee for thyself alone, then give me thyself alone.”

People were confused when they discovered it was a Muslim prayer, but the couple who had been on the holiday pointed out that just as the guide had been a gift to them in jolting their spiritual complacency, so this prayer could also be a gift – perhaps dispelling some ignorance and prejudice about Islam.

>Radicalising Culture

>Great day yesterday led by Dr Andrew Smith from Youth Encounter (part of Scripture Union). Youth Encounter has an emphasis on helping Christian and Muslim youngsters to dialogue and it sounded like Andrew really enjoyed this work. There doesn’t appear to be any proseletysing – just a desire to know the other as hospitable and faithful.
Title of the day was “Radicalising Culture” which made me think how much radical has changed since I was in my more “radical” days. Now it’s much more about polarising culture – but Andrew did manage to help us think that today’s problems are no more polarised than 30 years ago – the time of Brixton rioys, poll tax protests etc etc – just that the discourse has changed to being a “religious” one, as opposed to an “ethnic” one.
Made us think about whether we operate as followers of Christendom or the way of the cross.
It was good to be welcomed to the Storehouse Church. Great facilities – comfy lounge, various rooms, TV, fruit – modern hospitality.