Address delivered by Reverend Susan Allman, at the Interfaith Iftar held on 30th May 2019 / 24th Ramadhan 1440 A.H.

Address delivered by Reverend Susan Allman, at the Interfaith Iftar held on 30th May 2019 / 24th Ramadhan 1440 A.H.

Salamun alaykum It is a great joy to be with you this evening and as ever to be made so welcome; to be among friends in this place of worship which has become my second home. Ramadan Kareem.

Today in the Christian Church we have our minds on the things of heaven. I have come directly from a service at Holy Trinity Church in Fareham, where several of the local churches in our area have joined together to pray and to praise God for the Ascension of Jesus into the heavenly realm where we believe he prays for us as we do our best to serve God here on earth.

It is so helpful to focus our thoughts on heaven which I would say is not far away somewhere up there in the blue yonder but all around us. To know that heaven is all around us. That what we see is not all there is. This is something to be particularly thankful for in these times when there is such great turmoil globally and where here in Britain it feels as though our system of government is falling apart. 

We come close to God when we pray and for Muslims in this holy month of Ramadan through fasting.

By opening ourselves to God in these ways we know we are not alone. God is with us. For now, this world with all its contradictions, uncertainties and dangers is our home. But we also know we have a home in heaven, which will be our final destination. 

We have been brought to birth by Almighty God. In God we live and move and have our being. When our life on earth is over we shall return to him. 

As people of God we live our lives, as it were, with one foot on earth and the other in heaven. This is a great encouragement to us when we must pass through times of trial and suffering.

As we think of these things our thoughts and prayers turn to our brothers and sisters are facing around the world who are facing persecution, violence, poverty and disease. May they know too that heaven is all around them and that God’s justice will ultimately prevail.

Jesus often spoke about the Kingdom of heaven, God’s Kingdom of peace and love and justice. God’s Kingdom is among you, he said. If you plant even the tiniest of seeds of goodness and kindness God can make it grow and grow until it becomes a shrub large enough for the birds to make their nests in. We sow the seed but it is God that makes it grow.

So we must not lose heart. We must pray for one another and encourage one another in doing good works, as I know you are during this holy month of Ramadan, and have confidence that with every good deed and every prayer heaven comes a little closer.

May God’s peace and protection surround you as you serve him here, in your homes and families, in your places of work and in the community. Ramadan Mubarak.