dispatches to and from

nathan f. elmore

Dispatches to and from faith, culture, and things in between

Ramadan Renderings/Day 22

I am a Christian pastor who works as a collegiate minister with the Virginia Baptists at Virginia Commonwealth University. One of my areas of vocational interest and spiritual work is Christian-Muslim relations, including text-centered dialogues or conversations. During Ramadan 2011, I read through the entire Qur'an, in English, via Tarif Khalidi's 2008 translation (Penguin Books). What follows is a personal, meditative rendering of the Qur'an portion of the day. This rendering is devotional in nature, not scholarly. And it comes in the form of textual observations, spiritual reflections, theological questions or poetic responses.

 

Pope Benedict XVI is presented a Qur'an on April 17, 2008, at the John Paul II Cultural Center
[Photo by Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images]

 

Day 22 || Reading: Qur'an 33:31 - 36:27

 

Rendering from Qur'an 35:33-35

http://quran.com/35/33-35

 

In the above scripture text, life in the Garden Party at the end of days (for those who are resurrected) really turns on the style: gold, pearls and silk garments. And perhaps more notable than the finer things is one of the finest things: thanksgiving.

It is said that thanksgiving is on the praising lips of the Garden-dwellers. Why not? God's abode is an eternal home which is fundamentally different from what we've grown accustomed to: fatigue, sorrow and pain.

Yet for me, the Christ-follower, the burning question remains: What did God do with all that sorrow, pain and fatigue?

 

Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia