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23rd Sunday after Pentecost
Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
by Justin Meyers
One day, not long ago, I was driving home from visiting the Hindu temple in Oman (a Muslim majority nation) with my two school-aged sons. The back seat was unusually quiet when my oldest son, age 10 at the time, piped up, “Dad are we Christian because you and mommy are Christian? If you and mommy were Hindu or Muslim would we be Hindu or Muslim?” (This is one of the gifts of living in a diverse country and doing what I do. My children are exposed to all kinds of people, from all kinds of religions and cultures.)
I responded gently, “When you were baptized, mommy and daddy promised to raise you as Christians and teach you about Jesus and the love of God. One day, you will get to decide what you believe and if you want to follow Jesus. But yes, you are likely Christian because mommy and daddy are Christian. And, no matter what you decide, mommy and daddy will always love you.”
There was a minute or two of silence in the back seat again. The ten-year-old then proclaimed, “I believe what you and mommy believe!” Not to be out done the eight-year-old chimes in, “Well I believe that 6×6 is 36 and 12×12 is 144” and effectively ended the conversation.
Joshua gave the Israelites the opportunity to choose whom they would serve. Can I do any less with my children?
I admire my youngest son’s courage not immediately to affirm what mommy, daddy, and older brother believe. If/when he chooses to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, I will be confident that he means it and isn’t just doing it to gain my approval.
One of the concerns that I hear from people in the U.S. about my raising my family here in Oman is, “Aren’t you afraid your kids might become Muslim?” No. No, I am not. I’m not afraid of raising them in this multicultural or multi-religious community because I know whom I have chosen to serve.
Prayer for the day:
Accepting God, thank you for calling us and accepting us as your people. This day and all days we choose you. Help us to faithfully serve you in all our ways. Amen.
Justin Meyers is the Associate Director of Al Amana Centre in Muscat, Oman. An ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America, Justin pastored in New York prior to serving in Oman. Al Amana Centre, the legacy of the Reformed Church in America’s medical and educational work in Oman, is committed to working for understanding and peace between Muslims and Christians.