Food has always been linked to hospitality and to faith. Jesus didn’t reserve his company for a select few. He shared his mealtimes with outsiders – everyone was welcome. So much of our day revolves around food, which not only gives us opportunities to be thankful for what we have, but to share it openly with those around us.
I was vividly reminded of this when I visited Lebanon to see the work that Tearfund and its partners are doing to support Syrian refugees. It was there that I met Areej, who invited me into her home to eat with her family.
The family had been living in a canvas tent in a refugee camp for seven years. I was humbled by the warm welcome and generosity they showed me. Areej laid out her best plates and insisted on serving us chicken, even though the family could only afford to eat meat once a month.
Practising hospitality in a pandemic
Food has the power to unite us as human beings. It crosses cultures and can heal divisions and hurts. The pandemic may have changed the rules on hospitality, but it hasn’t let us off the hook from practising it. We just have to adapt, so that we can still share what we have with those in need.
That’s one of the reasons why I continue to bake, and I want to invite you to do the same. Here are some ways you can invite God to partner with you in your kitchen. On your marks, get set, bake!
1. Search online for recipes for a bake that’s popular in a country where Tearfund works – and then make it. You could make a Mandazi from East Africa, a West African lime cake, or a classic Brazilian Brigadeiro. As you bake, pray for the country, its people and the work that Tearfund is doing to help people overcome poverty.
2. As you’re baking, think about the different ingredients you’re using and where they’ve been sourced from. What country did the sugar, or cocoa powder come from? Pray for the farmers who grew it – for their health, for their families and for them to be treated fairly. Pray that more companies will sign up to be Fairtrade.
3. So much of baking is about timing. As soon as you’ve set the timer on your oven, give this time over to God. Ask him to name a country or an issue, such as human trafficking, and pray about that until your bake is ready.
4. Ask God who your bake is for and, taking precautions, find a safe way to deliver it to them. It could be a blessing for a neighbour, a healthcare worker, or a local business.