Reconciliation and a simple cup of tea.

by

I slipped off my sandals and stepped onto the Moroccan styled carpet. We entered the Imam’s house in unequivocal silence. The blue and yellow floral couch stood high enough that my toes barely reached the ground. I made eye contact with the Muslim man sitting across the room from me. He was an Imam; a religious leader in the Islamic faith. He smiled and the wrinkles surrounding his eyes became more prominent. He wore a long white juba that contrasted his dark skin. I imagined his long grey beard withholding all of the wisdom he has obtained over the years. I leaned in so as to hear the translator, eager to hear what he will say.

12047319_1514450808883701_1540853400_n

 “This is the most precious time. Muslims and Non-Muslims. You are all here sitting to be loved by God”. A chorus of mumbled affirmations sung throughout the room. Peace washed over me like a calm, cool breeze at the hottest point of the day. Immediately the importance of this exchange dawned on me. This is a rare opportunity: two of the biggest religions in the world in one room discussing our faith.

 “Do you think Christians, Jews and Muslims can coexist?” we asked. “Peace is possible. We don’t push our religion on others. We hope they will come to believe what we believe, but we don’t hate Christians”. A question was later brought up about ISIS. “We’re not sure what they are doing. The only thing Islamic about them is their name. Bad can overcome anyone. But we don’t identify with them in any way”. More cookies were passed around the table. I looked around the room to fourteen curious and eager pairs of eyes. I’ve shared endless conversations about reconciliation with these women. In that moment I knew we were supposed to be there. Asking questions. Seeking. Being open. Being loved.

 How do you do reconciliation? I think it looks something like sitting in a room as a group of Christian women with male Islamic leaders and discussing and acknowledging the differences in our beliefs about God, but then sharing a pot of tea together.

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: