Sunday, April 01, 2007
Your real live Gap Commercial.
For work-related reasons I had to attend a church service this morning. Subhanallah it is moments like these that I can really take in the glory of Islam and what an amazing religion it is... the true religion of true worship and closeness to Allah (SWT). This particular church is a multi-million dollar building with a multi-million dollar programming schedule, lighting system as advanced as many of the major theatres I have ever been in, parking lots complete with parking lot attendants, and a full band with back-up singers... the only thing they were missing was the admission tickets (but I am sure the cost of entry was covered by the many thousands of people giving their weekly offering). I couldn't help but stiffle a laugh as I heard the pastor talk about everyone being generous and giving their tithe to help the church and give to those in need. To reach out to the community and provide for those who couldn't provide for themselves, I believe his following comment was to "Please join the other members of the congregation for a coffee at their new Starbucks". Well if that isn't providing for the community I don't know what is! I mean what would a muliti-million dollar church be without a mulit-million dollar coffee corporation in their front lobby?
Oh but wait, that wasn't really the highlight of the service. The service begins with a half-an-hour of "worship" essentially a full band with two back-up groups on each side of the stage, not to mention, smoke, lights, guitar solos, four 20feet screens (could be bigger) and numerous camera men taking shots from all different directions. Really my initial thought was that it all seemed a lot like a GAP ad, just switch the swing dancing for more of a rock and roll feel. I draw the comparision because I am sure that trendy clothes, cute hair and good looks are a pre-requisite to be on the worship team. Seriously, not an ugly person on stage and everyone with the most current and stylish clothing I have seen complete with knee-high boots, low waist jeans, big belts, retro jewlery, and bold colours. Then they all bounce and dance around on stage flailing arms and open-tooth smiles to the tempo of the music lead by the electric guitar. One of the moments that most perplexing was when they sang about "bowing in worship" as everyone was bouncing around as though they were in a mosh-pit... hmmm guess I was missing something.
Alhamdulillah it made me think of Islam and how we as Muslims join in prayer, in unity with no fancy displays or productions, just simple lines of people facing one direction really bowing down to worship the one true God. No dancing, no music, no designer clothes, no expensive hairstyles or light shows, just the humble act of humility as we press our faces to the ground. Now to me that is worship.
What is equally amazing to me is that I used to go to similar churches. Those which spent more on the theatrical productions that got people out of their homes on a Sunday morning, than they did on keeping that community clothed and fed. Can you imagine what could have been done with the money it took to buy a Starbucks.
Alhamdulillah Allah has brought me the peace and beauty of who God really is, what worship really looks like in its purest and most sincere forms.
Alhamudulillah I am Muslim.