The muezzin has just called out the faithful to attend Friday prayers at the hole-in-the-wall mosque across the street. It’s so small that when the men crowd in there, particularly on a Friday afternoon, quite a number of them end up spilling out onto the sidewalk outside. I think folks at home may have the misconception that this is normal, or that when the call the prayer happens everyone just busts out their prayer rug on the pavement and starts to pray. Despite the raised profile faith has gotten through a lot of politicization recently, religion is still a very private matter in Turkey. It feels a little awkward to witness folks prostrating themselves as I go about my business in this rare little corner of the city.
At the same time, I’m holding all my brothers and sisters in the Light this weekend as they head to a conference envisioning “A New Kind of Quaker.” The profile of faith amongst young friends has really been raised up lately, with a buzz of optimism about the future of politics and a longing for change in the RSF. I pray that in the hurry and flurry of this excitement we do not forget that faith is ultimately a private concern.
Our God loves to see us spill out of our little houses of worship or sing unity songs together. But ultimately the simple Truth we seek is that His first priority is our individual recognitions of his power and love in our lives. Don’t think that you can “figure out” how to repair the faith. Come to those conferences in full recognition of the impossibility of your fallen intentions and with the desire to let God speak through you. Let unity within our faith flow from our individual submissions to God. Let us first seek unity within ourselves.
After all, “… what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)