Space to worship

Interesting piece from the Pakistan Daily Times about the dillemas of being a Muslim in space. From the article:

How do Muslim astronauts pray in space? Malaysia’s National Space Agency is holding a conference to consider such questions as the country prepares to send its first citizen into orbit. A nationwide competition in the majority-Muslim country has narrowed the field to four astronaut candidates, three of whom are Muslims. Two will eventually be trained and sent into space by Russia, and Malaysia’s space agency – Angkasa – said it had been scratching its head over how Muslim rituals could be carried out properly…

The astronaut will also visit the International Space Station, which circles the earth 16 times in 24 hours, so another thorny question will be: How to pray five times a day as required by Islam, she said. Working out the direction of Mecca while hovering above the earth will also prove challenging.

Muslims, per their faith, are required to face Mecca (Islam's holiest site, a city in Saudi Arabia) five times a day – hard to do when Mecca is moving constantly beneath your feet.

The dilemma faced by the the Malaysian Muslim reminds me about Jesus' conversation with the women at the well:

John 4:19 – 4:24 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. "You worship what you do not know ; we worship what we know , for salvation is from the Jews. "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." 

While Jesus' words here may not have been intended to address the dilemmas of a space traveling believers, they are relevant nonetheless – our worship centers not on a particular place or methodology, but on a person, Jesus Christ, who is always present and available to us as His children.  

Even if we find ourselves hurtling through space at several thousand miles per hour.

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