Muslims around the world are deciding to follow Jesus.
It’s Friday night. And Jasmine is just getting home from her job in the city.
The neighbours in her village greet her warmly as they gather in the home of her daughter and son-in-law. They take their places in a circle on the carpeted floor. Someone reaches to the top shelf of a closet and takes down a stack of photocopied Scripture portions. Jasmine readies her reading glasses and settles herself in a cross-legged position and reads: In Remembrance of Me.
This regular gathering is an example of communities of faith in Jesus the Messiah that are springing up throughout Indonesia. These gatherings may look different from what we see in our own cultural settings, but Jesus is being made known; He is being honoured!
… Someone prays an opening prayer for protection from demonic interference. Sharing proceeds around the circle as each person tells about the past week. The conversation is friendly and open. Then one of the leaders in the group begins a spontaneous prayer of praise, while someone else recites prayers from the Psalms. The selected Scripture reading for the night is distributed to those who can read. The first person to read opens with the main text of Exodus 34:6, followed by a traditional recited statement in Arabic:
In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.
People take turns reading out loud, verse by verse, around the circle. The text is read a second and sometimes even a third time, so that it will be taken to heart. Some simple questions are asked for review and discussion.
Afterwards everyone in the circle prays for the others and for their nation. After the prayers for one another, a time of relaxed fellowship begins with drinking tea and eating food from local crops.
Someone pours a common traditional drink, saying, “This is the blood of the Messiah,” then says, “We do this to remember Him and be refreshed. Christ gives us life!” Bread is also broken in remembrance of Christ. After enjoying the fellowship until late night, someone closes in prayer, and the families go home. They meet together daily as extended households until the larger community gathers again… in remembrance of Him.
- Around the world Muslims who have encountered the Messiah have to find culturally appropriate ways to worship. Some have adopted worship styles and attitudes from other cultures while adapting it to their needs. Others have developed unique cultural expressions of their faith. The use of the Qur’an stand (above) for the Bible is a simple example of cultural adaptation.
- Pray for former Muslims in your city, region, and country, that the beauty of local cultural expressions may be manifest in worship (songs, preaching and teaching styles and new ways of living which bring worship into the heart of daily life).