Ahmadiyya Mosque in Maryland
Christian worship in Cuba
While on home assignment, I recently had a great opportunity! I was invited to attend a prayer service during the month of Ramadan at a mosque.
I am sure of who I am as a Christian, but thought it would be interesting to learn more about Islam. The reason I was able to do so was that it was a branch of Islam – Ahmadiyya Muslim Community whose main purpose is to promote peacemaking. (These are the Muslims doing a blood drive for 9/11.) They were indeed very gracious and respectful hosts.
The person who invited us, a university professor and practicing Muslim, explained that their branch of Islam (persecuted in some places) believes that their messiah has already come. His name was Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani. He was born in 1835 in India (into a Muslim family) and died in 1908.
This title of “messiah” intrigued me, after all, what did it mean to a Muslim? As far as I could tell that day, messiah meant that this person predicted that Islam needed reformation – and his predictions came true. Jesus, the Christian Messiah, was a reformer, too; reforming old religious practices and belief in legalism into transformation through grace. But Jesus was much more, the one who brought salvation to humanity!
(While reading up on this later, I discovered that Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani himself proclaimed “to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus of Nazareth and the divine guide, whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad.” Christians are still waiting for the real second coming of Jesus…)
One visitor asked the professor, “Why, if your messiah´s message of peace is here, doesn´t a world of peace exist?” He gave an excellent answer (since Christians are often asked similar questions) by saying that the truth is like aspirin. If you have a headache, you can either put it in your pocket where it won´t do you any good, or you can take it and receive the benefit in your body. So, it comes down to what you do with the truth. If you put it into practice, you will receive “blessing” in your life. (He really did use that word!)
Of course, we as Christians are in a similar situation. We know the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ. If we believe it and practice our faith, we have salvation and blessing as God´s presence transforms our lives. If we don´t accept the truth, we forfeit salvation and blessing. What a challenge it is to show others that “taking their medicine” (accepting Jesus) really works. How do we do this?
LIVE THE WORD, PROCLAIM THE WORD, BE TRANSFORMED
The World Mission Offering this year focuses on evangelism, by living out our faith and speaking about our faith in Jesus Christ. This is something all missionaries (all faithful Christians!) do in a variety of ways.
I have been fortunate to be able to live in several countries as an IM missionary. Sometimes living the Word isn´t very easy: the lines are long at the ration store, someone needs a shoulder to cry on while you´re in the middle of a busy moment, people make fun of your faith and the list goes on. But living the Word gives me the right to proclaim the Word. I proclaim the Word by writing and leading Bible studies as well as teaching pastoral students how to minister more effectively. And I continue, while on home assignment, to explore new ways to both live and proclaim that Word.
When Jesus, the living Word of John 1, takes hold of our lives and those we minister to, we are all transformed by God. We have seen it in our own lives and in the lives of others.
Part of “living the Word” includes giving of ourselves and resources. Thank you so much to those who are living the Word and giving of themselves so that I and other ABC missionaries can “live the Word” and “proclaim the Word” in another setting.
Please give generously to the World Mission Offering as it goes 100% to missionary support and partner groups in over 70 countries who seek to share God´s transforming love and power with others.
Again, thank you for your generosity! I am deeply grateful for your partnership which makes my ministry possible.