I’ll never forget sitting in the living room of a young Pakistani family in central California. Warm aromas of delicious food rose from the table, kids who’d been sent to bed peeked in and scampered about, and the couple’s words tumbled over each other’s as they recounted their recent pilgrimage to Mecca.
They’d been on Hajj and it had deeply affected them.
The wife beamed as she recalled, “We felt so clean right after Hajj.” Her broad smile was touched with a hint of sadness. “We longed for that feeling to last,” she shared, “but it faded all too quickly.”
Muslims go on Hajj for many reasons: obedience to God, religious obligation, a desire to celebrate community and spiritual self-improvement among others.
This year, Hajj begins on August 30 and runs until September 1st. I’d like to ask you to do two things:
Chat with a Muslim about Hajj. Learn from an insider about this huge event. Too often our views are shaped by the sensational stories we see on the news. Large scale bad things often happen at Hajj, but I think Jesus would have us empathize with the individual. Who knows what you might learn!
Pray for Muslims who are making the pilgrimage. Here’s a five minute video that explains the pilgrimage and gives some specific ways to pray. I’ll be praying for Jesus to show up in dreams and visions, continuing to offer his 2000 year old invitation to follow him. I’ll also pray against the mob-induced tragedies that have killed many during this time. And finally, I’ll ask God to work in such a way that the feeling of cleanness my friends in California experienced will actually endure. Will you pray with me and invite some buds to join us?