On Wednesday, March 18, I was blessed to join a group of Christian and Muslim women at a popular coffee shop for a fellowship meeting. We first met a few weeks back at a Friendship Mixer called “Two Faiths, One Friendship” which promotes healthy dialogues between Christians and Muslims.
After our brief encounter at the mixer we decided that a follow-up meeting would be a great way to continue the conversation. Our aim was simply to get to know one another, share wisdoms from our faith, and discuss our personal faith journeys.
My friend Jenna and I arrived at the coffee shop just a little past 6:30 pm and were instantly greeted with beautiful smiles by our new friends Jessie and Inez. We exchanged some warm hugs and then introduced Jenna to the group as she was unable to attend the “2 Faiths 1 Friendship” event. Another friend Andrea who was at the event would be joining us a little later on.
Once we got our coffees and baked goods Jessie and I reached into our purses and almost simultaneously pulled out our delectable “friendship cookies” that we got at the event on the condition that we only open them and share them with a member of the opposite faith. So there we were finally “breaking bread (and cookies)” with each other and sharing. The conversation was so fluid. We talked about everything from belly dancing and Tyra Banks, to sculpture and swing dancing, to gourmet tea and astrological signs and our mutual repulsion of lizards and cockroaches! Don’t ask me how we covered so many topics, we were having such a wonderful time, I couldn’t even tell you! We laughed a lot, some of us were nearly brought to tears from the animated banter and the comedic puns and quips that were being exchanged. The conversation was both fresh and lively as well as respectful and friendly. It felt as if we had known each other much longer than we actually had!
When Andrea finally joined us it only got better and the good times ensued. We were definitely connecting and able to not only share tidbits about our personal lives but also insights from our faith.
I had with me a copy of “The Content of Character: Ethical Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad” written by Hamza Yusuf, my personal teacher, and a world-renowned Muslim scholar. I wanted to give my new friends the opportunity to learn directly about who Prophet Muhammad was in Islam and what he meant to Muslims. I also wanted to show the commonality of our faith by highlighting teachings that I knew were central to Christianity as well, like humility, service, and the importance of spreading and sharing love with *all* people. It was wonderful to also bring in the role of Jesus to Christians as well as to Muslims and to reflect on some of his beautiful teachings as well. Jessie, being a well-read student of philosophy and the Bible, was able to quote sayings of the Apostle Paul. We reflected on the beauty of his words and Jessie pointed out how according to her interpretation Jesus had given up so many things, he had sacrificed his life and he never let his lofty position with God affect his humility; he always saw himself as a “slave” to God. That was a wonderful lesson that we were able to draw many other lessons and reflections from for the rest of the evening.
By 9:30, although we had talked for nearly 3 hours straight and possibly could have continued into the night, we decided to call it a night and excitedly began planning our next rendezvous. A few things were suggested but ultimately we concluded that our next meet up would have to take our comfort level with each other up a notch so we decided what better to do that then karaoke night? Stay tuned (pun intended)! 😉
When I got home after our meeting I posted our picture to Facebook with the hashtag @ChristiansandMuslims and #WeAllLoveJesus. It only seemed appropriate after a night of coming together to praise God and talking about the importance of Jesus in both our faiths! 😉
We look forward to reporting about our next adventure in the very near future!