All human beings need food, clean water and shelter but here in the Middle East, cooking can seem too much after a day at work or travelling through heat-filled lands and buying produce to cook for one can prove expensive.
Thankfully, we have many eateries where people gather to fill their bellies up on local produce and, in turn, repair their souls whilst chatting, sharing, encouraging, laughing and burping.
Recently, I had the pleasure of eating a delicious shwarma in a family run restaurant in Nazareth. These jolly bunch of Arabs were delighted to show me their home made pickled vegetables and flatbreads. I also witnessed a fiery rant between those two brothers which thankfully seemed to resolve itself quite quickly when I flashed a smile and started to ask them to ‘shawaya shawaya’ in my dodgy Arabic.
Within a few days, I found myself stuffing my face with a yummy chicken curry in Christchurch Café, Jerusalem, prepared by a group of volunteers, of which religious persuasion I am unsure and quite honestly don’t really care about as this didn’t seem to affect the goodness of the tasty feed I enjoyed.
In spite of what the media would wish us to believe, in this part of the world, we seem to all be sitting around a large, round table where we chat to (and thank God for) our Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Atheist and Agnostic brothers and sisters who are all lovingly and happily sharing their culinary skills and expertise with one another.
Drinks: Diet Coke in Nazareth; still water & too many creamy cappuccinos in Jerusalem.
Some love tunes to listen to whilst perhaps drinking a 2011 Dalton Cabernet Sauvignon from Galilee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_RqDOaUS6M
Lord, in spite of the differences in how we perceive and express our thoughts towards you, thank you that you are both greater than that and much more forgiving than we could ever imagine. Help us to love one another and grow in inviting those whom we consider to be different to us in to our lives and our homes to share the food you give us. May we also grow in the courage to walk lovingly towards the homes and lives of those whom we may consider too difficult or different to share our experiences and love with them. Help us, Lord. Please, graciously help us. Amen.