Every now and then I get the inspiration to do some BBQ or low and slow cooking. It has become an emotional outlet for me to smoke meat for hours or cook something on an open fire. I receive additional joy when the family graciously complements my amateur cooking.
One of my favorite chefs is Marcus Samuelson. He was born in a rural area in Ethiopia, but at a young age he and his sister were adopted by a lovely Swedish couple. Growing up he loved to watch his Swedish grandmother cook, and that’s how he picked up his own passion for cooking. I love to watch him, because when he prepares a meal, I see the diverse accounts of his life come together. His meals tell a story of his identity and life journey. Here’s something that he has shared about food and his personal history:
“In the dead of night when I should be sleeping, I sometimes imagine the breath of [my biological mother]… I sometimes reach into that tin by my stove and take a handful of berbere [spice], sift it through my fingers, and toss it into the pan. I watch my wife cook and I imagine that I can see my mother’s hands. I have taught myself the recipes of my mother’s people, because those foods are for me, as a chef, the easiest connection to the mysteries of who my mother was. Her identity remains stubbornly shrouded in the past, so I feed myself and the people I love the food that she made.” – Marcus Samuelson
Food, besides its nutritional value, also connects us to our past. You can see it throughout the scriptures. God uses food to communicate and create a narrative for His people: Adam and Eve’s garden; the biblical kosher dietary laws; Yeshua multiplying and eating fish and bread with His disciples. However, the most significant meal in the Jewish narrative is the Passover meal, a divinely ordained “BBQ” which Yeshua eagerly desired to eat:
That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. (Exodus 12:8-9)
And He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will never eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15-16)
The story told during the Passover meal describes the transition of Israel from slavery into freedom. God instructs all the children of Israel to keep this tradition of communally sharing that commemorative meal and passing down the story of our slavery in Egypt to succeeding generations. God embedded in the Seder meal a preserving element – like opening a family album that perfectly reminds us of His redemptive plans for us.
This year we invite you to join us in helping our fellow Israelis celebrate Passover. In the continuing COVID-19 crisis, we are prayerfully preparing to help 900 struggling families in our town, with ingredients to prepare and celebrate the Passover meal.
Please pray for the recipients, and indeed, for all Israel, that during this holiday which centers around freedom, the Lord will release people from the slavery of sin and spiritual blindness and bring them into His promised land of salvation!