A pastor and a seminarian walk into a mosque via separate doors and in stockinged feet.
She, the seminarian, was greeted by smiling eyes and colorful, fluttering veils. Laughter propelled her through the great room’s threshold.
The pastor, from the male entrance, observed flurries of activity and the excitement from those at left and right.
Neither knew exactly what to do.
She had irrational knots in her stomach. The kind formed by communal anxiety and harrowing tales from near and far.
She also had a still, small Voice that said, Fear not.
Her face set toward Mecca and her heart opened in welcome. A little bit anyway.
The evening’s hosts gathered guests in comradery. All were called Sister and Brother in Humanity. Neighbors, aye. Together they began a pilgrimage of mutual understanding, scuttling after the imam, Brother Issa. He told stories and spelled out the faith he loves.
As the imam spoke, the seminarian noted eagerness and curiosity in the faces of her Muslim hosts. Oh, the great risk of their hospitality! Such vulnerability. Such bravery.
As the tour concluded a banquet was laid for all. Strangers became less strange by the minute.
Questions were asked around mouthfuls, right there, in stockinged feet and everything.
No weapons or armament or crossed arms or sharp fences.
A pastor and a seminarian walked into a mosque...
They were welcomed, fed, and graced with the offering of diversity on common ground.
The Islamic Community Center of Greensboro, NC holds an open house and community tour on the first Saturday of every month. For more information and to inquire as to how your church or community group may participate, please click over to their website.
And may God make us instruments of welcome and peace. Amen.