Friday, January 28, 2022

The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

My Neighbor’s Prayer: The Vocabulary of Blessing as Common Bond
The Hajj is the yearly Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, but it’s more than just a reliable ritual. The Arabic word Hajj means pilgrimage, journey, or “to set out from this place.” It undoubtedly involves leaving home and seeking the unknown beyond. In some way then, the Hajj highlights the uncertainty of travel, and the disequilibrium of being away from home. It rests in the spiritual transformation possible when we let go of what is familiar. There is something vulnerable about pilgrimage, and in that way it evokes nearness to the divine.

Once a Muslim pilgrim arrives at Mecca, they recite this chant, “Labbaik Allahumma labbaik” which means “Here I am present, O God I am present.” I love how naming one’s place in the universe—I am here, God—can stir the soul. In this context it signals arrival—“thank God, I made it to Mecca”—while at the same time indicates faithfulness—“God, I am on this pilgrimage place to which you have called me.” The Hajj will occur July 7–12, 2022. The Hajj has been impacted by the pandemic. In 2020 less than 1,000 attended. In 2021 there were 60,000, far fewer than the 2019 numbers of 2.5 million.

My Neighbor’s Prayer
My Neighbor’s Prayer
Labbaik Allahumma labbaik…

Amen.
Prayer during the Hajj
(Here I am present, O God I am present…)