Posted by: smstrouse | February 19, 2015

Is Lent the Christian Ramadan?

B88WakmIIAEzTOOI’m intrigued by the story of Muslims who have decided to fast during the Christian season of Lent.  The article in The Huffington Post (click here) reports that “In a display of solidarity and interfaith appreciation, some Muslims are pledging to fast alongside their Christian neighbors this year, and they hope it will become an annual tradition.”

How cool is that?! I have always loved being invited to Ramadan iftar dinners in which Muslims break their daily fast. But I’ve never gone so far as to actually fast beforehand!

And now it’s Lent – the traditional time for Christians to take on the disciple of fasting. Of course for us it’s a bit different. We don’t go in for the whole day thing. Some of us will give up something for Lent – like chocolate or smoking or Facebook. But some will take on something instead; one year I took on a project of memorizing and reflecting on two poems that I found meaningful. Fasting the way that it’s done in Ramadan would be a big stretch for mB89ISmbIEAA7_NUost of us.

One of the Muslim speakers in First United’s Pluralism Summer series spoke about her love of Ramadan, how she looked forward to the discipline of the fast and the meaning that it brought to her and her family. I couldn’t help wondering how many Christians looked forward to Lent. And once again I thought about how people of other religious traditions bring valuable gifts to the table. We could, I thought back then, learn a lot from Muslims who practice daily prayer and observe the Ramadan fast.

So I think it’s very cool that these Muslims are joining us Christians during our holy season. They bring new perspective and new life to an ancient tradition.

Following their example, maybe next Ramadan, I will actually fast before the iftar.







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