Please see the important note at the end of today’s email.
Got plans for this Sunday? Well, on July 18th, some 60,000 Saudis do. They’ll be standing in 100º+ sunshine on a broad plain a few miles outside of Mecca, commemorating the Day of Arafat. This gathering is an essential part of the Hajj, the once in a lifetime pilgrimage required as one of the five pillars of Islam. In most years there would be upwards of two million, but COVID has caused Saudi officials to limit the number of pilgrims and exclude anyone from outside the Kingdom.
The place is important as it is believed to be where Adam and Eve reunited after being cast out of Heaven, and where Muhammad delivered his final sermon.
Muslims believe the day is important because, finishing his divine revelation, God said, “This day I have Perfected your religion for you, Completed My Favor upon you And have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (Quran 5.3)
The Day of Arafat is focused on forgiveness. Pilgrims spend the day standing, crying in repentance for their sin and begging God to forgive them. Muslim who are not on the Hajj, basically the whole rest of the ummah, are encouraged to fast and seek forgiveness. Muhammad is reported to have said that those who fast on this day atone for their sins of the previous and coming year.
I have a hunch that God wants to say yes to many, even most, of the prayers prayed this Sunday at Arafat and beyond. God’s desire, his very nature, is to lavish forgiveness on his creation.
Will you join me in asking God to move in such a way that many, even numbers beyond counting, find the abundant life Jesus said he came to bring. The thief has stolen, killed and destroyed for long enough.
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