Sunday, November 19, 2006

Praying Nicely with Others

We were practicing for our worship class, running through the communion liturgy in the upstairs prayer chapel, when Izzet politely knocked. One of the few Muslim students present at our overwhelmingly Lutheran seminary, Izzet is a soft-spoken and extremely polite and genteel man. I often wish I could do him the honor of speaking his native tongue when I engage him in conversation, as the frustration of the language barrier is one of my ultimate shortcomings.

It was then that I realized my classmate and I were in the prayer chapel during a scheduled prayer time for our Muslim students. We quickly apologized and started to gather our things. Izzet, however, was the one who apologized. He asked if we would mind if he prayed while we stayed and worshipped. I asked, again, if we should go, but he wouldn’t have it.

So he pulled out his prayer carpet, pointed towards Mecca, and began to pray. We went back to reciting our communion prayer. There we were, engaged in something so interesting that it could have easily descended into kitsch, especially with a picture being taken with the caption saying, “Only at LSTC.”

But it wasn’t. It was a powerful Christian liturgy, taking place in an interfaith and intercultural context, sharing space with a prayer to the One God. How similar were our prayers, our words, our reverence?

Was it a metaphor? Either way, it was beautiful.


At 12:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does a muslim student want to study at a lutheran seminary? That's cool in itself.


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