An Illusory Intertwingling of Reason and Response

Musings: “Cogitations of an Addled Mind,” one might call it, or “Mr. Toad’s Adventure,” for that matter. Most of what I write stems from a long brooding process, and here I present to you, raw and untamed, the results. (Some musings are on a devotional note, and others are seasonally-oriented.)

Tafel :: musings :: devotional

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Voices from the Gambia

The piercing voice breaks the stillness of the evening, disturbing the solitude. The noise was startling at first, then distracting, as other voices chime in.

Is it an announcement? Some sort of singing? Chanting? The loudness of the P.A. system make it sound like it’s right next to our compound, but it is coming from the village mosque, over one kilometer away.

The voices continue. Concentration is difficult.

We ask: “What is happening?” “Oh, perhaps a ‘teaching’ for a special holy day; or maybe recitations for someone’s marriage or death. It’s in Arabic. Difficult to know what they are saying. Get used to it; happens often.”

The voice returns. It’s still dark. It is 5:30 AM! “It’s a call to prayer:; the first of three over the next hour, each coming from a different mosque. We try to sleep; but we think . . . If they are praying, why aren’t we? We who claim to know the Living God and call Him “Father”.

It’s early Sunday morning: voices of children come drifting into the compound. They seem to be reciting verses and singing songs. What a beautiful sound! Is it a Sunday School class?

“Yes, in a way. It’s the boys and girls attending classes at the nearby Koranic School going through their recitations and praises to Yallah.” We long to teach them about Jesus . . .

A weekday afternoon: we hear the sound of singing. We go outside. A vanload of men passes by on the road, amplifying their songs as they drive through the town. “It’s a men’s retreat. A Muslim version of ‘Promise Keepers’.” We pray: “May it someday be a Christian group.”

Evangelism and training go on almost daily in our village here. But we are not part of it. We are the “outsiders”, the “unbelievers”. How we wish this very religious atmosphere could be one of true worship — not only of God, but of His Son, the One Who came to be the Saviour of the world, the One they do not know.

So wrote Missionary Jim Entner on October eighth, 2003. It raises an interesting question, does it not? Why are so many lost, dying, and yet more devout than we who have the truth? Have we no care for their souls?

The Muslim has no Father God, since Islam teaches of an Allah who is a taskmaster: easily provoked and hardly appeased, capricious, even. We who know the true God, the one who loves and cares for the world, surely can be more devout worshippers of and witnesses for our God than they can theirs — don’t we have it infinitely better?

I read this prayer letter at Mission Prayer Band while at Pensacola Christian College