by Kevin Grable
Muslims eating Halal food in the church fellowship hall. People making friends across cultural and religious lines. Christians and Muslims openly discussing our common ground and differences about Jesus.
This is a snapshot of our most recent Love Your Neighbor Dinner at the Valley Vineyard in Reseda, California. Roughly 60 people, Christian and Muslim, shared a common meal and meaningful conversation.
This was the latest chapter in a deepening relationship that the Valley Vineyard has pursued with the Muslims in our local community.
After food and conversation around the tables, representatives of the Vineyard and the Islamic Center of Reseda each shared their beliefs about Jesus. I shared from the Gospels about the Cross and Resurrection, and Atif Akbar from the Islamic Center spoke about Muslims’ high regard for Jesus and how he should unify our people, even when we disagree.
The evening closed with a blessing from the Old Testament:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up his face upon you and give you peace.
Following the dinner, we received an email from a leader in the local Muslim community. He thanked us for inviting them and said, “as usual everybody at the church was very cordial and we felt completely at home.”
Local dinners are simple and powerful ways to create space for conversation and build new relationships, and we’d love to help you host your own. Contact us if you’d like resources for putting on a peacemaking dinner in your area.