This past Sunday we welcomed a special guest for the second of our Wonder Cafés to share with us some thoughts on Islam and living as a Muslim in Canada. Inspired by that service, here are some thoughts on salad and the Grey Cup:
When, at the SUC service Sunday morning, we announced the cancellation of this Sunday’s “Beer and Hymns” owing both to my ongoing chest cold and tonight’s Grey Cup game, someone in the congregation yelled out “good!” (I did not take that to mean an endorsement of my illness, of course…)
We then had a “friendly” time when Rev. Lloyd asked us what team we would root for, and the cries of “Toronto!” or “Calgary!” filled the somewhat uncomfortable air. We’re friends who don’t like to feel we’ve hurt each other through disagreement, after all.
Our speaker this past Sunday morning was not who we expected. Imam Khan had been called away by his duties as a prison chaplain, and had sent someone in his place.
As someone who was introduced to the privilege and blessing of prison ministry by Rev. Lloyd, I would assume the Imam’s “duty” was a person who, after years of faithful good living and repentance, was offered a chance to go outside the prison walls to either meet family or attend worship or both; surely there is no better way to live out the scripture which we heard that day (Matthew 25:31-46) than in this ministry.
Instead, we heard the words of his friend and colleague: Will, a Nova Scotian convert to Islam whose earnestness and insight and conviction were both familiar and unfamiliar.
One of the metaphors he referenced was not the classic “melting pot vs mosaic” rhetoric with which we are are comfortably familiar, but the idea of “salad.” That what makes a salad is that its ingredients share the similarities of what belongs in a salad, but what makes the salad function is their essential differences.
I was captured by this idea. I feel we, who feel such connection to this church that is so inclusive – because it doesn’t intend to leave anyone behind or anyone left out, thank God for that – can still benefit from this idea of the salad: that how we differ, and the appreciation thereof, can enhance us, rather than be a seed of discontent.
The Grey Cup is serious business in the Del Motte household. We really wanted Toronto to win, and they did. But after Sunday morning, I felt particularly sympathetic to those who were rooting for Calgary that night, not feeling sorry for them, but sorry with them.
Because in acknowledging how we are different, we can then understand the similarities of our goals. In acknowledging that the small things we care about are our culture’s and our country’s and the world’s, we can then focus on the big things we all care about that are God’s.
I think that what we shared together on Sunday morning can enlighten us about the great blessing of celebrating all our differences, whether something as historically and personally defining as the names we give the focal points of our faith (peace be upon them), or as small as what team we want to win in the CFL.
As I said in church last Sunday: I hate tomatoes. I have hated them since I was a child. They don’t and have never tasted right to me, no matter how many times I try them hoping that they will be the right fit. But that doesn’t mean they don’t belong in a salad. And it doesn’t mean I don’t KNOW they belong in a salad. And it especially doesn’t mean that I don’t see the value in people who love tomatoes, just because I don’t.
So today I am filled with joy and energy to celebrate difference. Because in celebrating that we also celebrate our commonality.
I’m super happy my team won, and yet, I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed that the other team lost.
I hope everyone enjoys their salad as much as I.
Peace be upon you,