Advent in Little Mogadishu
They say that ministry is contextual. I believe that is true; it certainly was for Trinity last Wednesday.
Church calendars said it was the First Wednesday in Advent. Many “good Lutherans” were in church that evening, participating in worship of various kinds, preparing for the coming of God’s reign.
I suppose you could say Trinity was preparing for the coming of God’s reign in a different way. Dar Al-Hijrah (mosque) was having an Open House on Wednesday evening. An invitation had gone out to the neighborhood and when I talked with Imam Sharif the week before he made sure I knew about it. I explained that Wednesdays were hard for me with the Wednesday Night Supper and Confirmation. He said that even if I only came for the last 30 minutes it would be good.
The news surrounding the Somali community has not been good lately. There has been several news items involving Somalis in Minneapolis and around the United States. Perhaps as a result of all of that there was extensive vandalism at the Somali Mall on 4th and 16th , right next to the Cedar-Riverside LRT station. Cam Gordon’s (Cedar-Riverside’s city Council member) email said the authorities suspected that the vandalism was anti-Somali. This seemed like an important time to show our support for our brothers and sisters.
I had hoped to go to the Open House if I could cover the Wednesday Night Supper and Confirmation. Jon and I had the idea of the Confirmation kids going, which Alem supported. And at Quilting that morning, on a whim, I mentioned it. Trinity ended up with 14 people at Dar Al-H
Everyone was so pleased to see us there. They all made a point of coming over to welcome us and thank us for coming.
The evening began with a Somali meal – wonderful food – which was followed by a program, including speakers from Dar Al-Hijrah, the Islamic League of Somali Scholars in America, a presentation by the Youth Director and a youth, and a chanted recitation from the Koran by a 17-yr. youth. Pretty much every speaker emphasized the peaceful nature of Islam. They all condemned the violent actions of the few Somalis who have made the news.
A few things struck me. How important it was to the people and leaders of Dar Al-Hijrah that we were there. Their generosity and warm welcome. Their humble, yet earthy sense of humor. Their sincere interest in our idea of Trinity having a similar Open House (they asked to be sure to be invited).
But what really brought a smile to my face was the realization that we were in a mosque on the First Wednesday in Advent. Advent is about preparing for the coming of God’s reign in its fullness. God is big enough for everyone. We all – Muslims, Christians, Jews, nones, dones and all the rest – will be a part of God’s kingdom together. That being true, we were surely doing the First Wednesday in Advent well simply by being together. We were preparing for and we were being God’s reign together already right there at Dar Al-Hijrah. That’s what brought a smile to my face.
They say ministry is contextual. Trinity’s context just keeps getting bigger, even in our small, dense neighborhood. And there we were, at Dar Al-Hijrah, ushering in God’s reign, one Open House at a time.
Original journal entry date: 12/6/10
© 2018 Jane Buckley-Farlee All rights reserved.