Not only was I impressed, I also felt I received helpful insights too. What did I, as a Christian, learn?
Firstly, it was very clear that the children took their faith and its duties so seriously. They clearly expected to affirm and support one another in this religious observance. They presented ideas of how the fast can be kept. The importance of listening to others, especially parents, about how to do it, was made clear. The family and community support was clear. Lent was mentioned as a comparable fasting season in Christianity. How much do Christians affirm and encourage one another in fasting?
Secondly, there was a clear commitment to try – to have a trial period of fasting – to have a go. So often we find excuses for not trying spiritual practices – why not try things out! I have been impressed by the hashtag #justpray – don’t worry about how to pray, or about techniques, try it out, just pray!
The children emphasised that Ramadan was not only a personal spiritual discipline. Ramadan comes the encouragement to pray more, to develop a disciplined life of faith. However, we learned it’s not just about the individual – we were told of the importance of caring for those in need, and giving to charity, taking care over how one uses one’s God given wealth.
And finally… As I sat in the school hall I was surrounded by Muslim parents who clearly welcomed me and appreciated the interested I had. I had a go at the quiz about Ramadan – and two parents helped with whispering the answers to me! So much can be gained by sitting among people, being with them and sharing times like this. In small but important ways we grow in understanding and insight together. How can we do this more?