Fat Tuesday is coming. Again this year we will be inviting our friends from the Islamic Civic Society of America (ICSA)/Dar Al-Hijrah.
I am disappointed that I didn’t write about it last year. It was actually the first time Trinity had done anything regarding Shrove or Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras since I came to Trinity. And it was a first for the people of ICSA/Dar Al-Hijrah, to be sure.
It came together as a kind of Stone Soup event. We don’t really have a functioning kitchen, except for a dishwasher. So we gathered griddles for making pancakes and people brought syrup, fruit, jams, whipped cream in cans, chocolate chips and other basically unhealthy food. Before we knew it we had a feast before us.
Some precautions were necessary. Griddles had to be spread through out the building to avoid blowing a fuse and we didn’t want pork in any form.
It was a great evening. The griddles were plugged in and pancakes were kept warm in crock pots. The buffet table was set and the smell of cooking oil filled the building. When our guests arrived we were ready. Many had never eaten our version of pancakes before. They have their own equivalent, kind of like sweetened crepes. But I don’t think they put the same things on them. The ones I have had were plain, and quite tasty.
As our guests went through the buffet line they were braver than I tend to be, trying new things. They were amazed by the spray can of whipped cream but weren’t quite sure at the same time. And, of course, being the gracious and generous people they are they brought some food to share as well – Somali rice and beef with onions and spices– yum.
We ate. Conversations happened. New friends were made and some old unexpected friendships were rekindled.
As a part of the evening I led a short discussion, “Christianity 101 and Lent 101.” Just the basics. When I do that I am always struck by the fact that it is impossible to do either of those topics. Not all Christians, not even all Lutherans understand things in the same way. I did mention that Christians are not nearly as good as fasting as they are, but we are really good at eating fat. That got a laugh.
As Wali translated I was aware that Muslims use most of the same words we use – mercy, forgiveness, etc. – but I am always quite certain they understand all of those words in a slightly different way. So I never really know what Wali has told them!
But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we had come together and have eaten together. And in some way we were all aware that it iwas a gathering based on a faith tradition, this time ours.
After a hearty meal, many words of thanks, hugs and handshakes, our friends left, heading to the mosque to pray. I would have loved to be a mouse in the car to hear how they processed the whole thing.
I have no doubt it was a holy moment in these divided and fearful times. This coming Tuesday we will gather again. The griddles will be hot and the food will be fatty and delicious.
It will be another moment of seeing God in Little Mogadishu.
Original journal entry date: 2/27/19
©Jane Buckley-Farlee All rights reserved.