Always Hungry: Last Day of Ramadan

 

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.

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48 comments

  1. jami

    “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.”

    Perfect. I join you in this commitment.

  2. Aqib

    Congrats Wes on completing Ramadan. I have enjoyed your blogs and looked forward to reading them every night after Traweeh ( night prayer). I must say as a Muslim, I also deal with the same sort of issues you just mentioned right now. It’s hard to follow everything we accomplished in Ramadan, in the following months but the point is to try.
    Wes, we Muslims also fast 6 times in the month of Shawaal ( month following Ramdan which begins the day after Eid). It is said by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) whoever fast the month of Ramadan and 6 days of Shawaal, it’s as if he has fasted the whole year.

  3. Dawn Anderson

    Absolutely beautiful. I think of how Jesus so often used food analogies like “bread of life” and “living water” to refer to satisfaction of spiritual needs. The world is thirsting and starving for more than food and water! God bless you.

  4. mohamamd

    wonderful as usual. and congratulations 🙂

    “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?”

  5. Bill

    I think what you’ve done is a mark of a true leader, Wes. It is great that you have taken your space in this world and shown how others can/must do the same with theirs.

    And isn’t this how we are given to understand it works? One authentic person gives rein to his heart, stands and says this is the way forward and finds his message spread ’round the world.

    I love Methodism, and you are a great credit to it.

  6. Lisa Parker MacKay

    Wes,
    Your journey has become my vicarious journey. Because of you, I have developed a deeper desire for more – more from myself and more from others locally, nationally and globally. We can all be better.

    Thank you.

    • Danea Wallace

      Wes I a wonderful example how how the Lord wants us to love all of our neighbors. He is one of my pastors at FUMC and I am very happy to call him my friend and pastor.

  7. Sali

    Wes, my first time on your blog. You have enlightened us so much in a short one month that we feel a part of your journey. Absolutely remarkable achievement. If only our leaders (muslims or christians) can follow the true teachings of Abraham’s religion and avoid spreading the hate, we could be one big happy family. I pray that God give you strength to continue your fight against negativity and you keep building bridge between people of all faith.

  8. nadsjalil

    Hi Wes,

    Assalamualaikum from Malaysia, and a blessed Eid to you! Just thought I’d say thank you so much for your Ramadhan posts which have really helped me see my faith in a new and beautiful light. God bless you and yours.

    • ♥ natnat ♥

      Why is it a shame? His purpose of fast is about learning and understanding islam, NOT to convert. Muslim or not, he is still a great person, role model, leader. Why can’t people just accept who he is just like he accepts us as who we are?

    • FM

      Lets not get into this, we know Allah said “no one knows the soldiers of Allah”. He can use anything n anyone.  Sometimes a hundred people cant open a door from one side while it can be opened easily from other side by single person. 
      Pastor Wes has a great gift of understanding n communication, by being a Christian Pastor he taught if not thousands than hundreds of Muslims around the world the real essence of ramadan n fasting. We have heard all that from our scholars thousands of times but that didn’t have a similar effect as the words of Pastor Wes. He was simple in writings and his perspective was new, we may have thought of those things very early on in our early life or our kids ask us those questions but since Pastor Wes is a learned man he didn’t ask those questions instead he provided insightful explanations in a much better way than has been done. 
      May Allah help you n strengthen you in your mission of uniting all the people of this world n spreading peace

    • amatullah

      @convert to islam ,It is not your place to say, it is a shame……..
      Guidance is from Allah, even the prophet’s(PbUh) uncle didn’t accept Islam even though he knew it was the true path.such comments should NOT be made.

  9. JanAsker

    Eid Mubarak Pastor Wes! Congratulations on your continuing hunger 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.” As you said, there is only one God … the God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohamed (Peace Be Upon Them). And OUR GOD, is so good! Thank you so much for sharing your Ramadan experience with us through this blog and may Allah continue to bless you throughout your journey….

  10. ismailmayat

    Eid Mubarak pastor wes from England. Have only just come across your blog today on eid!

    Got some catching up todo but may the blog shine a light to people of all faiths.

    We are all children of adam and adam was created from the dust of the earth. (Hadith)

    “I searched for God among the Christians and on the Cross and therein I found Him not.
    I went into the ancient temples of idolatry; no trace of Him was there.
    I entered the mountain cave of Hira and then went as far as Qandhar but God I found not.
    With set purpose I fared to the summit of Mount Caucasus and found there only ‘anqa’s habitation.
    Then I directed my search to the Kaaba, the resort of old and young; God was not there even.
    Turning to philosophy I inquired about him from ibn Sina but found Him not within his range.
    I fared then to the scene of the Prophet’s experience of a great divine manifestation only a “two bow-lengths’ distance from him” but God was not there even in that exalted court.
    Finally, I looked into my own heart and there I saw Him; He was nowhere else.” (rumi)

    Respect, tolerance, peace love and understanding.

  11. Isa Cole

    Ameen Brother. Eid Mubarak and many thanks for your companionship throughout Ramadan. Your words have been inspirational and thought provoking. Here in the UK many have been reading your words in admiration and shame of our own inaction towards peace on earth. Thank you for your daily reminder, teaching Muslims the essence of Ramadan. May you and your family. Have a long healthy life. May God grant you His Divine mercy. May the family of Adam realise we are all brothers and sisters but most of all may we all die in state that is pleasing to our Lord. As’Salaam Alaykum my Brother.

  12. Fareeha Miandara

    Eid Blessings to you and yours. May the Torch of cooperation that you have lit, be carried by many from all faiths insha’Allah! May the God of Abraham accept your intent and efforts and shine His truth on you always, Ameen! Live long and live in peace brother.

  13. nadiaelde

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. As a Muslim you’ve given me newfound insight into what Ramadan is really all about and how I should experience it. Thank you for your time and effort and may God bless you and your congregation.

  14. Stephanie Upton

    Pastor Wes, as a member of Still Water Community Church in Rowlett I am so honored to have such a maverick in our community! You have helped me to realize what I have always been is “hungry” to know more about my Jesus, my faith, and my world! I consider myself a “student of religion” while still being a very strong Christian! What a gift to me personally your blog has been! It has made me do what I teach our kids every single day “see a need and meet it!” It has helped me open my heart and my mind to my brother and his family going to Haiti to be Missionaries next May. I was talking about your blog with a friend, and their move to Haiti and I said “there are hungry people right in our neighborhood! She said, having travelled the world with work “I know fat people who are hungry!” She’s right too! I’m praying that we all hunger for Christ, more love, more understanding, more faith and more community in and with everyone we meet! I pray that we will show them Jesus and they will want what we have! God bless you for doing this and being such an amazing example to us all! – Your Sister in Christ, Stephanie

  15. Ola

    I have been following this blog since day 10 of Ramadan but have never made any comment. I must say a big thank you to Pastor Wes for this beautiful journey. What’s interesting is not that you have enlightened some Muslims as well as Christians during the course of your 30 blogging and fasting but the fact that you have shown exemplary leadership to all. You have set great example by going the extra mile, you have broken and demystified the myth that dining with our neighbours of other religions can be dangerous. You have shown the Muslims that not all pastors are same and the Christians that accepting our neighbours is part of Christianity. What you have done is exactly what is called Jihad because the best form of Jihad is to strive to better one self from within.

    May God, the beneficent the Merciful grant you more strength, Wisdom, understanding and knowledge to further your good work. However, I must plead with you that this must not be the end. Pastor Wes, as a leader of all that you are, I encourage you to dialogue with the Yaseen’s and the rest of the Imam’s around. Invite them to your church and let them also engage and interact with your congregation. After that, promote and initiate community projects that will be funded a by both and managed by a commity from the church and the mosque. Initiate programs between pastors and Imams where there can be interaction between both on issues which wreck community havoc. I am sure that God will be with you and continue to grant you the resources and strengths. This is also an opportunity to thank all the Muslim brothers who have shown support to Pastor Wes during Ramadan. That is exactly what Islam is all about. And for my Christian brothers and sisters reading this, please note today that we all owe it to humanity and posterity to live as one. Peace to all.

    Eid Mubarak.

  16. Nazmin

    Hello,
    It’s been an absolute pleasure reading your blogs !! I hope you have a brilliant Eid with your friends and family. May God accept it from us.
    Warm wishes.

  17. Meg Swaid

    Eid Mubarak IOW congratulations. On the gift. The gift of fasting, Allah;s plan, God….who is one for all people. To whom we all return regardless of our “orientation” be it the Qibla in Mecca or the Qibla in one’s heart. You are truly a leader of your church and I truly hope your constituents follow your lead to increase their knowledge of the Creator and increase their ability to do things that the Creator has ordered humans to do throughout the ages under the guise of many types of system, in all languages and for all people. The Original Order was simple, “listen to me and only to me”. Everything follows from that. Salaam wa alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakathu.

  18. Jim Milam

    I have learned a lot through your posts during your fast, but I have to say that this one is absolutely brilliant. I printed off a copy to keep in my Bible to help me focus on Jesus’ real message to us.

  19. Holly Boardman

    Dear Wes,
    I have been exceedingly blessed by reading your blog. I feel as though I have actually experienced Ramadan myself. I learned a great deal about Islam by sharing this experience with you and your readers from around the world. Thank you.

  20. Colleen

    Happy Eid. I am not one to reply to blogs, though I have read your entire Ramadan series. It has been very enlightening to me. I am a convert to Islam, and have really enjoyed reading about your experiences. I thank you as well for teaching us all more about the Methodist religion, in particular enlightening us about the Methodist’s view towards Islam. God-willing your blog and work will continue to build bridges between the communities. May Allah bless you.

  21. argeen5

    Dear, pastor wes
    I was reading your blog since day 7 and i have really enjoyed reading your posts,, Thank you very much for sharing your experience of Ramadan with all of us,, May God bless you and your Family, Eid Mubarak.

    best wishes,,,
    Ahmed Abdulgader (Saudi Arabia).

  22. Patricia

    I like the part about ‘I will be happy to end the fast tonight’

    Ramadan reminds me of the trials we suffer in this life then the Eid is the day we when we meet our Lord. And the happy one is the one who fasted and was patient during all the trials and tribulations.

    Congrads on finishing the month. May Allah reward you as one who fasted in this earthly life.

  23. William L. Bingham

    After reading the replies today, it is clear to me that this was a great gift you have given to so many who have sought to understand your gifts and insights; but also a gift to those who might now consider how each of us can be more hospitable to those of other faiths. I am also a Methodist, but have not done a Ramadan Fast.
    Your effort to build bridges among people of all faiths has become a driving effort in these last years of my life. Thank you for this journey you have shared with us.
    Would you be willing to publish this journey in a single publication that we could buy or print off?
    Thanks again for your insight but also for your boldness.

  24. Sharon

    Wes you never cease to amaze me. The ways you find to minister to others is incredible. From all the comments posted here I believe you have cross the lines and bridged the gaps to bring an interfaith dialogue and soul searching to both Christians and Muslims. Thanks for reaching out to understand others and helping all of us to see that we all should have an unquenchable hunger for God

  25. GRSands

    Dear Pastor Wes,

    Thank you and may God bless you for your wonderful blog and the leadership you showed during Ramadan. Even as a Muslim revert of 25 years, I gained insight into the fast of Ramadan, through your experience, and I truly enjoyed your blog! I hope you took the time to enjoy the Eid al Fitr celebrations in your community and recognize your and your brothers/sisters accomplishments during the blessed month. I have a feeling that you will also experience a “longing” for Ramadan, as we put it in the rearview mirror and look ahead to the weeks and months to come. Muslims pray that we will be given the opportunity to experience another Ramadan and renew our faith. I pray that you will be given the same opportunity. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. Peace be upon you, brother!

  26. Ansar

    Wes it was great to have you with us for the month sharing the ‘Muslim Fasting Experience’, I wish all the best and hope you are leaving with good thoughts on Muslims and Islam, in addition, I hope you talk to others also.
    The Episcopal church made a nice gesture also to put up a sign to wish the Muslim community happy Eid (Interfaith dialogues are important):

    Btw, not to alarm you, but the wisdom of the Creator (Allah) and His mercy is also shown in the next phase of this. He says if you fast six days in the next month of Shawwal, I will give you reward for a whole year of fasting !
    So many of us have this whole month to complete six fasts, I will probably do three this week and three next as I am have already had a months practice and would certainly like to get a whole years reward.
    Regards

  27. NYC-Mai

    Dear Pastor wes,

    Just recently I discovered your blog and I have been reading everything ever since. Your journey through Ramadan has been a very amazing one. As an Arab muslim living in America I never thought that someone would ever fast or take the time to really truly understand what Islam is all about. You my good man, have proved me and many others wrong. Ignorance on the other hand spreads. People are too quick to judge by what they see as opposed to really understanding who they are. I hope that people who only saw with their eyes will now see with their hearts after reading your journey. You have empowered many muslims to be more open and to help spread the truth.
    All in all thank you for writing about your journey. I enjoy reading your struggles for I too have endured them. I learned a lot and hope to learn more.
    Sending you only the best of luck from New York City

  28. Noor

    Pastor Wes! you are an inspiration to all, A leader in World Peace. Someone who leads by example. What a wonderful human being! As long as there is one of you left in this world still trying without giving up, then we still have hope…..
    You are the best Pastor ever! God bless you and your family for your slefless contribution to the World.

  29. Alia Salem

    I think I can speak for a large swath of Muslims here in DFW when I say, we are truly blessed to have had the opportunity to meet you and learn from you Reverend Magruder. Your experience has enriched my experience and their is no greater accomplishment of interfaith work than that in my humble opinion.

  30. Tammy Corporan

    It was so nice to meet you Wes at the Daughters of Abraham meeting at EPIC. As a dark haired, green eyed, white skin American Muslim, I thank you for building bridges together with us for peace. I hope to see you again inshallah and would be happy to visit you all on your territory also as an interfaith activity. Peace and blessings to you and your family from our family.
    Tammy Corporan

  31. Pingback: On Fasting | Hopeful

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