Syria: The bread of life
At the end of April, Tasmanians Andrew and Pam Lake will take up the pastoral leadership of All Saints’ Community Church, Damascus. Meanwhile they’re in the city of Aleppo, learning the language and culture before their new role begins …
On the last Saturday in March we took our first service in Aleppo. There was a congregation of 14 that included Ghanaians, Kenyans, Chinese, Americans, British and Armenian Syrians. By default Pam was the musician and was able to borrow a guitar and dust off her skills. The congregation is excited about being able to have some services with us over Easter, while we’re still here.
Although it feels different to celebrate Easter in this part of the world, our exposure to Middle Eastern culture is giving us many new insights into the words of Jesus.
This was pointed out by our Arabic teacher, who is Muslim. 'Take for example', she said, 'Jesus’ words "I am the bread of life." Here in the Bible lands every meal is served with khubez, the delicious, flat, round bread that everyone eats to the extent that governments have to subsidise it. If a house runs out of bread, even if the pantry is full, then there is ‘no food’.
It is literally ‘daily bread’.
It is collected every day from the baker in steaming hot stacks. So that it does not go soggy, the people immediately separate the pieces to cool them off. We are astounded to see bread laid out on car bonnets, walls and even the footpath.
Please pray for us as we try to optimise our remaining time in Aleppo and soak up as many of these cultural insights as possible.
Special prayer focus – Opportunities to share the gospel this Easter
Lord God, we thank you for resurrecting your beloved Son, so that through him we can enjoy the promise of eternal life. As we commemorate Christ’s death and resurrection this Easter season, we pray that you will embolden us to share the significance of these events with others. We pray this also for CMS workers serving you in all corners of your world, especially in places where Jesus’ name is little known. Despite many obstacles, keep them firm in proclaiming the truth of the cross, so that many may be led to a saving knowledge of your Son, the way, the truth and the life. Amen.