Then Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!.
- Matthew 17:4-5
The Muslim call to noon prayer has just rung out across Cairo as I write this. The tone of the call is mysterious and mystical, as if there is something more to life than the grinding traffic and busy shops all around us, as if a God who would meet Moses in the cloud and the fire of Sinai still waits to meet us here as well.
And so they go, our Muslim friends, to pray on mats on street corners and in mosques without number. "Allahu akbar," I hear, now, over and over again over the loudspeakers: "God is greater (than anything). God is greater." Surely, it is so. I think they know it better than we.
What is not so clear to these dear friends is that the God of glory meets us on human terms in the person of Jesus. The glory of Sinai now shines in the face of one who takes us by the hand, calls us friend, and gives us his life. Mysterious and mystical indeed is he, transfigured on the mountain, but friendly and forgiving, too, reaching out to the ragged lemon seller who just accosted me and the black-robed single mother who sits on the curb evenings selling matches and the socially different little girl down the street who always smiles at us.
They, too, need to feel the hand of heaven in theirs. They, too, need to understand that in Jesus there's no more barrier to life with God. Who in your world has not made the connection? Who in your world still stands before the devouring fire without the face of Jesus? What astounding News awaits their ears!