A Sense of Hope and Life Part 1

How Do you Feel?

We ask this question a lot. I think in the West we worry a lot about how people feel. It is not as important here in the East (the Middle East in my case).

But here is a shot at answering that question. How do I feel as a Christian in the lands of Islamdom? How do I feel as a foreigner and stranger?

I walk a lot here. I don't have a car and things are laid out in this city so that you can get around fairly well without one. Sometimes I walk around and have a sense of oppression, of hate, of tension. Yes, I can just feel it in my bones. Sometimes it is more present than others. The remember the first time I was in Jerusalem (not where we live) I could really feel it. At such times I feel like we should just go home and lead a comfortable life in the West or Latin America for that matter. Pastor a church or teach religion...why not?

But sometimes I feel an irrational sense of hope and life. Sometimes I walk around the dusty streets of my neighborhood and am convinced for some reason that is beyond my comprehension that I, as a simple Christian and disciple of Christ, show forth his life and power and mercy just by being here. The grace goes deeper than the words. The mercy is beyond what is visible and reaches beyond the horizons of reason and words.

It is like those clothes that Paul touched in Acts (19:12), and they had healing power. It is like Elisha's bones which brought a man back to life (2 Kings 13:21) because he had been a holy man and worker of miracles, and that power remained beyond his death. The division between the living and the dead is an arbitrary line which can be erased and redrawn a thousand times. There is one Kingdom, and the saints--living and dead--are united in that Kingdom. We are surrounded by a "great cloud of witnesses." Sometimes I can almost see them, the martyrs, saints, and apostles of ages past, interceding before the throne of God for us missionaries, for the church in the Middle East, for the Muslims who do not know the love of God. "She is not dead, she only sleeps." "He is God not of the dead, but of the living."

(cont.)

Comments

Umm Yasmin said…
>Sometimes I can almost see them, the >martyrs, saints, and apostles of >ages past, interceding before the >throne of God for us missionaries, >for the church in the Middle East, >for the Muslims who do not know the >love of God.

... And of the Muslims who do? :P

God told Prophet Muhammad to say to us: "If ye love God, follow me; God will love you and forgive you your sins. God is Forgiving, Merciful." (3:31)
Abu Daoud said…
Marhaba wa shukran ya Um Yasmin.

We Christians believe that the knowledge of God's love is tied up completely with the accceptance of the reception of and obedienced to his Word. In God's Word he articulated and expressed everything he ever wanted to say to us about him.

But his Word cannot be contained in a book--no matter how sublime--as Muslims suppose. But rather in God's love for us his Word suffered with us and and for us, he became hungry, he cried, he yelled out in pain.

God is great! AAnd his Word is great. Not something that can be closed and placed on a shelf and ignored. Rather it is a Word that spoke and speaks and will speak forever.

His Word we call Jesus son of Mary, the Messiah.

That God is merciful and forgiving we accept. And the proof of this is his Word. You are close to the Kingdom of God.

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