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Thought for the day
St Francis of Assisi and a companion, Illuminato, crossed enemy lines and entered into the Sultan's camp during the 5th crusades 800 years ago
He met with Sultan Malik al Kamil (and Sufi adviser Fakhr al-Farisi) in 1219 in Damietta, Egypt.
He came with a simple message, ‘Peace be upon you,’ which echoed the Muslim greeting, 'Assalam Walekum' and the response 'Walekum Assalam.' Maybe that is why he was accepted and given an opportunity to proclaim his faith in Jesus to the Sultan himself.
St. Francis never spoke against Muhammad or his Message or said that the sultan was wrong in his beliefs. The sultan was therefore willing to listen to Francis speak of why he followed his Saviour, Jesus Christ.
That space of kindness, respect, and new friendship was maintained throughout their time together. St. Francis of Assisi is warmly remembered by Muslims as “The Monk” who came to visit.
Gentle conversation, mutual respect, being honourably received, and eating together. These were all hallmarks of the encounter. Francis even brokered a peace agreement, resulting in a ceasefire (although it was not long lasting it nonetheless prevented bloodshed).
This encounter between Sultan and Saint represents a vibrant model of interfaith engagement and faith-sharing that is highly relevant in these times of conflict. And it is symbolised in the act of meetings and eating together.
Prayer for the day
St. Francis of Assisi's prayer in praise of God (probably influenced by his encounter with Al Kamil) given to Brother Leo:
You are holy, Lord, the only God, and Your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong. You are great. You are the Most High. You are Almighty.
You, Holy Father are King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good, Lord God, living and true.
You are love. You are wisdom. You are humility. You are endurance. You are rest. You are peace. You are joy and gladness. You are justice and moderation. You are all our riches, and You suffice for us. You are beauty. You are gentleness. You are our protector. You are our guardian and defender. You are our courage. You are our haven and our hope. You are our faith, our great consolation.
You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord, God Almighty, Merciful Saviour.
ind out more about the Sultan and the Saint by watching the trailer to the film: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OOLOD8tQ8U&t=19s. and read more about it www.sultanandthesaintfilm.com
Known as Dolmas in the Middle East, this is a dish that Sultan Malik al-Kamil may have actually offered to St. Francis of Assisi. Vine leaves, filled with spiced meat or grains and vegetables.
Try making 'Dolma', stuffed vine leaves, to serve to Muslim guests. Then you can invite them to your home and host them for a 'peace-meal', or take as an Eid gift https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUCgBaQe1g8
You can read more about it here..... https://saintsandrecipes.com/st-francis-of-assisi-and-the-sultan-stuffed-grape-leaves/
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Do you want to involve your church in blessing Muslim people through prayer and friendship?
There are new 30 Days of Prayer church resources available for you:
Pray Together as a Congregation
Small Group Session
Night of Power Prayer Meeting
Prayer Walk Guide
What’s your next step after 30 Days? There are loads of resources to help you on your journey.