In the above picture, I am wearing an Eid gift, a traditional Bangladeshi punjabi, given to me by Khaled. Thank you so much, Khaled! It’s beautiful.
Only a couple of hours remain of my first Ramadan.
I am looking forward to breaking my fast tonight. My wife, Leah and I have decided to leave the kids at home and go out for a nice dinner alone. We plan to reflect on the last thirty days and consider what we have learned and how our lives will be different going forward.
More than anything else, I believe that I will be hungry for the rest of my life. The physical fast ends very soon, but spiritually, I may never be satisfied again.
I will always be hungry for the kind of friends I have made over the last month – Muslims and Christians from all over the world, some of whom I have met, broken bread with, and had long conversations with; others whom I will never see or meet.
I will always be hungry for the kind of interfaith dialogue I experienced – deep, soul-enriching conversations about God, about God’s purposes for the world, about God’s purposes for my own life.
I will always be hungry for a world where people do not kill each other in the name of religion; where violence is entirely rejected as an acceptable way to make oneself heard in the public square. In particular, I commit myself to becoming the kind of American Christian leader who will simply not tolerate hate speech against Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Wiccans, atheists, or persons of any other kind of religious expression.
I will always be hungry for a world where people respect freedom of thought, speech, conscience, and religion, and where people do not fear the threat of heresy. It is important that we all remain open to listen to people who differ from us, even if those differences are significant.
I will always be hungry for justice to be done – especially on behalf of the world’s neglected. As I fill my plate tonight, I must remember that this is a luxury for millions of the world’s people. There is something wrong with that fact. How can I truly be satisfied deep in my heart when I know that so many people remain painfully poor and hungry?
I will always be hungry for quiet moments of solitude – the periods during the days of Ramadan when I carved out a little time for prayer, or walked into an empty room at work to be alone. I simply must repeat these habits throughout my daily life.
I will always be hungry to know the will of God – to discern God’s ways amid the distractions and obstacles of life.
I will always be hungry to be more like Jesus Christ – to imitate his ways, to follow him into the world, to become more and more conformed into his likeness so that I might reflect his glory in the world.
Until I meet God face to face, I will be hungry.
Only then will I finally be satisfied. Only then will I find the fullness of joy, the perfection of peace, the eternal shalom, which I have been pursuing all my life.
But until then, we fast.