Your Church and Mine

 In January of this year, i approached a travel agent to ask about cruises to Istanbul, Turkey. The agent informed me that for the moment, cruises were not sailing to Turkey due to recent violence.

“We better go now, before this madness gets worse,” I remember saying to my husband in 2014. He agreed, and we found an incredible deal on a 10-day Mediterranean cruise to Greece and Turkey from Civitavecchia, Italy with Norwegian Cruise Lines 

Visiting the beautiful city of Istanbul, or the ancient Constantinople,  was a dream of mine. To see the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque in person, not only because of their historical and architectural value but because of the religious significance of those two impressive temples.

Our first stop was the Blue Mosque. Outside, we formed a line that moved quite fast and efficiently. Before entering, we removed our shoes, and placed them in plastic bags we were handed by the greeters. Women have to cover their head, something I was prepared for, but for those who were not, a scarf was provided before entering the mosque.

Amidst the chaos of hundreds of visitors, I was able to find a quiet spot to gaze at the mega high ceilings sustained by heavy walls plastered with blue tiles. The mosque has no benches or chairs, just a red, patterned wall to wall carpet. In fact, a mosque, in its most basic form, is simply a clean area designated for prayers.

I decided to include the poem below because while inside the Blue Mosque, I felt the very strong presence of God. There was something very peaceful about this sacred place that can only be God. The poem says “The Lord will be at my church today, but He’ll be at your church also,” very true indeed for Muslims believe in the One, Unique, Incomparable, Merciful God, the sole creator, sustainer, and cherisher of the universe as it is written on a free pamphlet I picked up during my visit. The prophets of Islam include Abraham, Moses, Solomon, and Jesus. “Peace be Upon Them All” is written after their names on the pamphlet.

 One of the things that touched me the most was finding out that Muslims prefer to use the Arabic name for God, “Allah,” because it has no plural, feminine or diminutive or that the name could be associated with idolatry such as god, goddesses or semi-gods. This resonated in me because the Spanish name “Dios” (God) or “Diosito” (little God) is used by many devout Christians in Mexico and because gods and goddesses abound in Mexico’s prehispanic cultures.

To Muslims, all prophets were human beings like us who, as chosen examples for their people, committed no grave sin. Muslims accept Jesus as a prophet and believe in his virgin birth. I was astounded to find out that His name is mentioned in the Qur’an almost a hundred times. There was great peace inside of me as I left the mosque with teary eyes and a calm spirit. These are moments i cherish, for they open my eyes to the wonderful world out there peeking like stars on a cloudy night waiting to amaze us. 

This lover of Jesus Christ walked along Muslims and visited their beautiful mosque only to be reminded that God loves us all.

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Your Church and Mine

You go to your church, and I’ll go to mine,

But let’s walk along together;

Our Father has built them side by side,

So let’s walk along together.

The road is rough and the way is long,

But we’ll help each other over;

You go to your church and I’ll go to mine,

But let’s walk along together.

 

Our heavenly Father is the same,

So let’s walk along together.

The chimes of your church ring loud and clear,

They chime with the chimes of my church;

You go to your church, and I’ll go to mine,

But let’s walk along together.

 

You go to your church, and I’ll go to mine,

But let’s walk along together;

Our heavenly Father loves us all,

So let’s walk along together.

The Lord will be at my church today,

But He’ll be at your church also;

You go to your church, and I’ll go to mine,

But let’s walk along together.

 

Phillips H. Lord

 

 

 

 

 

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