Today I had the opportunity to step into a mosque for the first time. My internship class, all of us followers of Jesus, went together to the Islamic Center of Virginia. We spent some time talking with the imam, then stepped into the sanctuary for Friday services.
The mosque brought together a multi-ethnic community for prayer and instruction. The service took place in a relatively small, square room with pillars creating a circle in the center. Most congregants sat on the floor, with men in the front and women in the back. Two of the women welcomed my friends and me by creating a row of chairs for us.
I appreciated how comfortable the room was and how naturally women greeted us and showed us the way. I see substantial virtue in the practices of sitting comfortably, being attentive to guests, and participating in communal prayer through a series of bowing and pauses. Although I remained in my seat, refraining from bowing out of respect for our religious boundaries, I enjoy many of the customs I experienced. I want to practice the virtues of hospitality, modesty, and mutuality exercised by my Muslim neighbors.