Thursday, September 06, 2007

Thinking about Bread

A team member in Jordan shared this insight with us:

The other day as I was walking through the neighbourhood, I observed something I had never seen before. A man stopped in the middle of a busy street, picked something up and placed the object on the top of the cinder block fence. As I walked past, I noticed what he had picked up. It was a couple of pieces of old bread (dirty and driven over).

When I asked my language tutor about this, he went on to explain the importance of bread in this culture. He told me that if a piece of bread falls on the ground, it is to be kissed, brought up to the forehead and then returned to the table. I have also seen bags of bread hanging on the outside of the garbage bins. My tutor said that people don't just throw away bread, instead it is placed in a bag and people will come and pick it up to feed their livestock.

"Bread" in Arabic is "Khobz" or as the Egyptians say it "Ayish" which means "life or living". In a typical Arab home rarely does a meal go by without bread on the table. While they do have sliced bread (its often dry and crumbly), the typical bread is pita bread. And it melts in your mouth when it is served hot!

As I contemplated this scene and understood more fully the significance of bread in this culture, I can't help but be reminded of the one who said "I am the bread of life ... no one who comes to me will ever be hungry..." Later on, he says "I am the living bread..."

So the next time you sit down to have a sandwich, or enjoy bread with your meal, take a moment to remember those for whom bread is a part of their daily living and ask that they would encounter the one who is "the bread of life ... the living bread".

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