Archive for March, 2010

Zafar Siddiqui recently attended a passover meal at a synagogue in St Paul, MN. He wrote about his experience in the Star Tribune. In his piece for the Star Trib he quotes many texts from the Qur’an that also speak of Moses and how God worked through him to save his people. This is what he said in conclusion:

As I was going through the Haggadah at the Seder, these parallel narrations came to my mind. In a world where injustices, occupations, and wars abound, the story of Moses gives us hope that God will never let any injustice thrive for long. The challenges may seem like the veritable sea in front of us, but, as a follower of Moses, I believe that nothing is impossible for God. Peace is inevitable.

First of all, I liked this because he is reaching out and seeking greater understanding of people who are different than him. How I wish we would all do this!

Second, I like that he said he is a follower of Moses. That’s my kind of language. Unfortunately, though, he doesn’t seem to see all the implications for following Moses. The story of the passover, when God redeemed the Israelites by judging the Egyptians (ultimately killing every firstborn), is the story of Jesus Christ. The Israelites were commanded to put blood over their doorways so that the angel of the Lord would pass over them and their firstborns would be spared. They were safe under the covering of blood. This points to how God passes over the sins of all who are under the covering of Jesus’ blood.

Not all Muslims reject the death of Jesus, but most do. And in rejecting Christ’s death for his people they don’t see the ultimate reality of Christ’s death that Moses and the Passover point to.

HT: Engage Minnesota

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This is exactly the kind of perspective we all need.
From Justin Taylor:

A timely word from Russell Moore, who asks:

Is it a problem that some of us who are tranquil as still water about biblical doctrine and ecclesial mission are red-faced about Nancy Pelosi and the talking heads on MSNBC?

Is it a problem that some who haven’t shared the gospel with their neighbors in months or years are motivated to vent to strangers on the street about how scary national health care will be?


If we were half as outraged by our own sin and self-deception as we are by the follies of our political opponents, what would be the result?

If we rejoiced as much that our names are written in heaven as we do about such trivialities as basketball brackets, what would be the result?

So if what you’re afraid of is a politician or a policy or a culture or the future of Western civilization, don’t give up the conviction but give up the fear.

Work for justice.

Oppose evil.

But do it so that your opponents will see not fear but trust, optimism, and affection.

Read the whole thing, and pass it along.

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Happy Birthday Bach

I love music (in college I initially was a music major and dreamed of playing jazz for a living). Having studying music theory I understand well the significance of Johann Sebastian Bach. No one person is more important in the history of western music than him. One of things I really appreciate about Bach is his perspective on the purpose of music.

Sam Crabtree writes:

Today is the 325th birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach, who said, “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”

If one’s soul pursues delight in music without regard to glorifying God, music becomes an idol that eventually disappoints and robs.

But if one’s soul finds delight in glorifying God with music, then the two things (the glorifying of God and the refreshment of the soul) are not two things, but one.

Full disclosure said in a low voice with face looking down: I don’t actually enjoy listening to his music.

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Peacemaking Is Hard Work

Note the verbs in the following verses from the New Testament. Then ask yourself how committed you truly are to making peace.

  • So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. – Romans 14:19
  • Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. – Hebrews 12:14
  • Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. – 1 Peter 3:11
  • Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. – 2 Peter 3:14

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I recently found the website Scriptural Reasoning from Usama Hasan’s blog. It looks very interesting. It was started by some Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars who wanted to better understand one another’s faiths. So they began to meet together and read about different topics from their holy books. Now there are other small groups doing the same thing.

They say that their deepest purpose is “to offer the broader public a way of practicing peace at a time of inter-religious tension and conflict.” On the site they have “text bundles” you can download about different topics. Each bundle includes Jewish tests, Christian texts, and Islamic texts that speak to the specific topic. Topics include: Common Humanity, Money and Debt, Repentance and others.

In the future I hope to go through these texts more and perhaps will blog about some of it.

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Go in Peace

25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5:25-34

In the gospel we read about a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years and yet no matter how many doctors she went to she got worse and became poorer.

Her life would have been a lonely life. According to the Tawrat (the law of Moses) this flow of blood made her perpetually unclean and therefore she was not to be touched or touch others, lest they too be made unclean (see Leviticus 15:19-31). She had probably all but given up hope, being resigned to live as an unclean woman, with an incurable flow of blood. Could she ever be made clean?

Somehow she had heard about Jesus Christ. And she had heard enough to be filled with hope once more so that she sought to touch him. She had heard about the great things he had done and thought that if she could just touch him she would be healed. This unclean woman started making her way through the crowd (a dangerous task since those around her would have been very angry if she made them unclean). After finally making her way through the crowd she touched Jesus’ cloak and immediately she was healed.

Jesus knew that power had gone out from him and he asked, “Who touched my garments?” The woman must have been terrified. Would this great man be angry that an unclean woman had touched him? She “came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth” (v. 33).

The woman believed that Jesus Christ could heal, but she didn’t believe that he would accept her. Therefore, she just wanted to touch his cloak and then get away before she was rejected. After all, Jesus was a respected teacher and by touching him she would make him ritually unclean. So even in the midst of her great faith, she was full of fear.

But rather than making our Lord Jesus unclean by touching him, she was made clean by him. Not only was she made clean, but she also received mercy. Jesus the Messiah called her, “Daughter.” She was not merely an unclean woman to him. She was a woman made in the image of God, a woman loved by God.

Jesus didn’t want the woman to leave thinking that the touch was the real reason she was made well. Certainly it was important and she wouldn’t have been healed if she hadn’t touched him. But at the bottom of her healing was her faith. It was her faith that made her well, the kind of faith that acts and reaches out and lays hold of Christ.

Jesus then told the woman to go in peace. Here Jesus was pronouncing a benediction, so to speak, on her. He was saying that her faith has made her well in more ways than just stopping the flow of blood. Her soul has been made well and therefore she can go in peace with God. Through faith in Jesus she had been healed of her disease and she had received the thing which she was feared she would never get—acceptance with God.

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It is helpful for us to hear other people’s experiences with their religion. When we hear and see their emotions they become more than just a person of another faith. They become human. They become like us.

So I thought it would be good to share this post from Muslim Matters. Ismail Kamdar shares about his personal relationship with the Qur’an. When he was young it was a book that he respected, now it is a “personal conversation with [his] Lord.”

Read the whole thing.

Related Post:
How to Approach the Qur’an

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