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Weekly Devotional

Praise the Lord All You Nations

Reflection by Suzanne Halsey

Praise the Lord, all you nations;

extol him, all you peoples.

For great is his love toward us,

and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.

Praise the Lord!

Although we have travelled a bit, I had never been in a Mosque.  The only person I knew who was Muslim was a nurse.  On 9/11/2001, I was working in an urban poor clinic with a wonderful nurse, Raheemawho always wore a hajib.  At 10:15 AM, she rushed into the room where I was and totally out of character announced: “I am leaving now, I must protect my children,” and was gone.  Soon the news about three airplane crashes, presumably terrorist attacks, was everywhere.  Raheema was terrified that her children, who also were Muslimight be harmed by people, my people  (??who are we? What terror do we represent to them??)wishing to retaliate. 

  

At the rather humble Quincy Mosque that April Sunday, 16 years later, I  encountered many gracious people as fine a person as Raheema, eager to share a faith and culture they love. Children and young people spoke on a wide variety of topics: architecture, timelines and intersection points of different faiths, contributions to art, history, medicine, science, and mathematics.  There were speakers, greeters, posters, a film, and an enormous spread of delicious Muslim food like baklava and hummus.  People came forward offering handshakes on entering, entertaining questions, and hugging us on departure.  They felt like family as we left. 

  

How hard it must be for these people so frequently scorned. They are often condemned by the actions of few. They are brave to open their doors and welcome outsiders.  What courage it must take to share their community, their traditions, their faith. 

 

I was most touched by the young girl, Nora, who wrapped me in a lovely hajib, the veil worn by Muslim women. She explained the reason for wearing it, why God wishes it to be worn, the art, ceremony, and the meditative part of wearing it.  Her father glowed as she wrapped me.  The photo taken highlights our similarities and differences and the joy and unity of sharing. 

 

I couldn’t help but wonder what was the “magic” here that made the experience so wonderful. Perhaps it was many people of many ages, sexes, nations offering me/us the opportunity to appreciate the similarities and differences.  I couldn’t help but think, how could I/we reciprocate?  I think I do not do enough outreach, both across generations as with myself and young Nora, and across communities, mine of Quincy and my church community of Wellesley. I’m still pondering how I can do that and with Nora, I raise my voice in praise. 

 

Truly, praise the Lord, all nations, extol him, all peoples; 

For great is his love toward us, 

and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. 

Praise the Lord! 

 

 

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