Love

Ramadan, The Perfect Time to Meet Your Muslim Neighbors

We are in the midst of Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims. It is the 9th month in the Muslim Lunar calendar. This is when all able-bodied Muslims will fast from food, drink and other physical needs from sunrise to sunset. It is a time of prayer and purification to become closer to God. The Arabic word for God is Allah. Ramadan marks when the first chapters of the Quran were given to the Prophet Muhammad.

Ramadan is the 4th of 5 Pillars of Islam.  These Pillars define what it means to be a Muslim. Here is a list of the 5 Pillars:

  1. Shahada: faith in the Islam religion,
  2. Salat: pray five times per day facing the direction of Mecca,
  3. Zakat: give support to the needy,
  4. Sawm: fast during Ramadan, and
  5. Hajj: make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during one’s lifetime.

The season of Ramadan is a season of joy and celebration.  It is also a season of generosity and kindness. Although the fasting can be difficult the month is punctuated with celebratory meals after the sun goes down. These are called iftars. They are often celebrated together with families and friends, as well as community events. This is a great opportunity to join an iftar and meet your neighbors.  My husband and I have several days marked on our calendars to join an iftar. Some of these are interfaith events, hosted by a community of Muslims. Some churches are also getting involved and hosting iftars for their Muslim friends and neighbors. This can be a time to build friendships and understanding. Why not check with your local mosque and see if there are any such gatherings that you could join?  Or ask a Muslim friend, co-worker or neighbor if you could join them for an iftar? Be prepared for some delicious food and warm hospitality. You may be eating and staying up later than what is normal for you, but the benefits of making or strengthening existing friendships is worth being a little sleepy the next day.

I have heard stories from some of my immigrant friends who grew up in the middle east how Christian, Muslim, and Jewish neighbors would make food for each other during their holidays. This would be a custom worth reviving in our multi-faith and diverse communities.  Maybe you will be inspired to host an iftar for your friends and neighbors. Just make sure you use halal meat or make a vegetarian meal. Costco carries halal meat as well as neighborhood halal stores. I have 2 in my neighborhood. This is one way to build love and peace in our world so desperately needing it.  One step at a time, right where we live.

 

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Categories: Faith, God, Hospitality, Love, Peace and Reconciliation, Prayer, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What does love look like?

 

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Photo by Tobi on Pexels.com

After the Royal Wedding this last weekend, I want to reblog these poems.  I was very inspired by Bishop Michael Curry who encouraged us to think and imagine a world where love is the way. There is power in love to transform us and our world. Thinking and imagining what that world would look like will help to point us in that direction! It will help get our feet moving to do the good that we can do one step at a time.  Let’s get moving!

When the seams of life unravel

When fog blurs vision

The way forward is obscured

When positions are hardened

Anger flares

Resolution and reconciliation

Seem millions of miles away

Remember

The greatest of all is love

It is the pulse that runs the universe

Slow down and listen

Feel it running through

Your veins

Ask the question –

What does love look like?

Give imagination free rein

Wait for your thoughts to form

Then get ready

Bring a friend, sister or brother

Go do that good

You are inspired to do.

© 2017 Julie Clark

 

Be Your Best

Be your best

Come alive

Breathe in life

Inspire me

With your love

With your courage

Be your best

Find a way

Show the way

I will follow

Be my best

Together we

Sow the seeds

Of love and courage

© 2017 Julie Clark

Categories: Hope, Love, Paths, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Encircled

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Encircled with Lavender and Rosemary

On this warm day

Breathing in pure fragrant air

Releasing anxiety and pressure

Pressure to be

Something I am not

Receiving peace

Healing and rest

May my fragrance be

Life giving and refreshing

To the ones

Encircled by my love today

 

2018 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, growth, Life, Love, Poetry, Prayer, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ancient Words, Ancient Prayer

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“May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:22

 

Ancient words, comforting words

Still bringing life

Over the long passages of time

Joining in the cry of the faithful

Or the desperate

Or both

Please be mindful of me

On this treacherous pilgrimage

On planet earth

My mind

Incapable of knowing

All the sinkholes

And swirling vortexes

Threatening to take me

Down and away

I will leave those to you

And keep my eyes focussed

On this path

One step at a time

You are my good shepherd

After all

 

© 2018 Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, God, Hope, Life, Love, Paths, Poetry, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

What if beauty

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What if beauty

Is God’s shouts of joy over us?

What if the soft breezes on our cheeks

Are whispers of his love?

What if the crashing waves on the shore

Are displays of his passionate strength?

What if all of nature

Is but a part of an unending chorus of praise?

What if I stepped aside, stopped awhile,

Listened to these voices ringing out near and far?

How different would I be

In this world?

Would I do my part to care for and protect

These messengers?

Would I see their vital role

In the life of our planet?

Would I acknowledge the mystery of life woven together

both physically and spiritually?

Would I join the chorus

With my unique song of wonder and love?

 

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, God, Love, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Waiting for Easter

I am posting this poem again from a few years ago.  A reminder that no matter how dark it is or how much faith I have or don’t have, light will break through and love will win. 

All we have are words

And the grief that overwhelms us

Hope is gone

We saw with our own eyes

Our grief tells us

He is dead

Yet

We have words

We will wait

With our grief by the tomb

© Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, God, grief and death, Holy Saturday, Hope, Lent, Life, Love, pain, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Other Miracles

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Maybe not everyone

Finds the miracle they are looking for

You are still limping in pain

and I am gasping for air

Maybe there are other miracles we are finding

Still being loved by family

With all our brokenness and faults

These babies born to our children

Smiling and clinging onto our fingers

With the message:

“I need you to be strong and light the way”

The friendships that have endured

Despite separations and years of silence

Still hearing the Voice of the Beloved asking:

Do you trust me?

 

Categories: Faith, Hope, Lent, Love, pain, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Journey

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The Journey

Is longer than I thought

It would be

(I was only 17

when I became aware

of it

And the glorious end

Was coming soon

or so we thought)

Harder and darker

Than advertised

(I read the manual later

And saw the red fine print

Of suffering)

 

After several years

I used up everything

Forgetting to stop

And refill at times

 

Truly if you had not

Again and again

Lifted me up from the mud

Onto the wings of the

Waiting eagle

I would still be there

 

You are faithful

And your love

Is the constant

of my life

Though I cannot

Always see or

Feel it

 

Trust is my part

Faith, hope, and love

Not abstract nouns

To feel or believe

But actions

I need to continue

To practice

 

© 2018 Julie Clark

 

Categories: Faith, God, Hope, Life, Love, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Two Small Coins

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(This is another lament – #2.  These are not meant to shame anyone, but to help me and anyone else who is struggling with how to pray and how to respond to the challenges we face in the world we live in.)

We watched from our screens

The worlds unfolding tragedies

Lord have mercy

Cities crumbling and unlivable,

Ruined,

Lord have mercy

 

We saw men, women, children, the elderly

Fleeing with little or nothing

On foot, in trucks

Later in unstable overcrowded boats

Looking for help, looking for hope

Lord have mercy

 

Some came to meet them

To feed them and clothe them

To help them

Thanks be to God

Some opened their wallets and gave

What they could

Thanks be to God

 

Others of us felt hopeless

What could we do?

We looked at our two small coins*

And put them back in our pocket

Lord have mercy and forgive us

 

Every day more tragedies unfold

On our flashing screens

Lord have mercy

Every day

Lonely people walk across our paths

Some hungry and homeless

Others in need of a friend

Lord have mercy and forgive us

 

Forgive us God for when we do nothing

Oh Lord let our hearts be open

Show us what we can do

Let not fear keep us from love

Show us how we can love

Let love grow in our hearts

To overcome fear

Show us what we can do

Let us take the two small coins*

Out again and find a way

To use what we have

To help our neighbors in need

Thanks be to God

 

*Luke 21:1-4

 

Categories: Advent, borderlands, Faith, God, Hope, Hospitality, lament, Love, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strangers, Foreigners, Refugees

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Why welcome the stranger?

Are you afraid you don’t have enough

Resources for yourself?

Your family?

Your nation?

Not enough jobs?

Did you forget the story?

How did two fish and five loaves

Become enough to feed thousands?

 

They would have stayed 2 + 5,

If they were not given up and over

To the One

Who holds it all together

Who taught us the new math

Of sowing and reaping

Of trusting and love.

 

We need reminding

In these times of distress

Times of anxiety:

When we hold our fists

Closed tightly around our resources,

Our love, our humanity

It all turns to dust.

 

When we open our hands:

The Holy Wind blows

The seeds to good soil

Landing, planting, producing.

Holding fists tightly

Stops the river of blessing

Coming our way.

 

The stranger show us

The face of God

In a way we do not know.

Our dimensions become wider

New concepts expand our minds

Love expands our hearts.

We become more fully human

More like the One who formed us

And gave us all that we are

All that we have.

© Julie Clark 2017

 

Categories: Faith, growth, Hospitality, Life, Love, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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