Your neighbor as yourself
June 4, 2020
It’s a given that Canadian Christians have Muslim neighbors. Muslims comprise about 4.6% of our population, are distributed throughout Canada, have built mosques and Islamic centres, patronize hallal grocery stores and take part in most aspects of national life from Parliament to sports teams to comedy clubs.
There are around 650 mosques in Canada serving local Muslim communities. Almost every mosque will have at least one church nearby. That is, Christians have Muslim neighbors and churches have mosque neighbors.
Jesus had something to say about neighbors. A lawyer set out to test Him by asking, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Lk 10:25-29). Jesus then spoke a parable to illustrate that a neighbor can be someone from another faith and culture who is despised by one’s own community, who is in danger of dying and requires a response of active love in order to live.
Last week, the horrific murder of an unarmed black man by a white policeman riveted the world’s attention on the consequences of perceived superiority on the basis of “otherness” (the quality or fact of being different). Jesus was addressing this mindset in His parable. We could say that “Jesus is the answer” and leave it at that, except that when He ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us so that WE would be His answer, so that WE would love our neighbors. Then why is it such a hard slog to get many Western Christians to love, pray for, or even SEE Muslims and understand that, after bringing them here to make it easy for us, Jesus is sending us to them (Jn 20:21)? Is it their otherness?
Think of it:
- The fields are ripe for harvest (Jn 4:35).
- Churches strategically surround mosques.
- Islam is essentially a (5X daily) prayer movement.
- God says His house is to be called a house of prayer for all nations (Isa 56:7, Mk 11:17).
- Someone has suggested we meet Islam’s prayer movement with a Holy Spirit prayer movement.
Loving Muslims Together (LMT) has a vision for every Canadian mosque to be loved and prayed for by a nearby church. LMT encourages and assists pastors and congregations in this endeavor through an initiative called “Loving a Mosque Community Together”. https://lovingmuslimstogether.outreach.ca/mosque
Lord, we’ve been asking You to pour out Your Spirit on Muslims. Pour Your Spirit on Your church also!
- Forgive us for our dullness of spirit.
- Make us uncomfortable with our complacency.
- Open our eyes to SEE our Muslim neighbors and to see them AS neighbors.
- Break our hearts that they’re dead in their sins (Eph 2:1-2) if they don’t know the saving power of Jesus’ blood, so we can pray with compassion.
- Give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to inform our prayers for Muslims (Eph:17-22).
- Help us be spiritually alert to opportunities to minister to Muslims with signs and wonders.
- Bother pastors and their congregations with holy conviction until every mosque in Canada is adopted by a church for prayer and receives the Jesus’ loving hospitality from His people.