He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:11-13
This morning I had the great privilege of worshipping with a body of Persian Christians. These followers of Christ are former muslims, mostly from Iran (I met one young man from Tajikistan).
The opening scripture was Psalm 119:65-72 and the sermon was on Matthew 1:18-25. It was very interesting to hear the story of the angel appearing to Mary, and then Joseph to announce the pregnancy of Mary and the birth of Christ from a middle-eastern, and former Muslim, perspective.
In each service they have a time of open prayer. They prayed for me. I didn’t ask them to. I didn’t share any concerns or requests. Yet these brothers and sisters in Christ prayed for me, a stranger in their midst.
Following the service was a time of fellowship. I drank tea (a requirement at Persian gatherings), ate pastries, and spoke with followers of Christ from all ages. I was challenged and encouraged. Each person’s story of faith was unique. Some had sudden conversions where they surrendered all to Christ (and placed their very lives in his hands) and others had a more gradual conversion. For all of them, Christmas is a very special time. The story of the birth of Christ is full of symbolism which screams to their hearts and minds of the divinity of Christ, the need for salvation, and the amazing love of a God who did the unthinkable in drawing close to man and upending the scales forever so that we could be with Him.
An amazing morning.