At the Caspari Center, besides working hard we also share things often. The table is set at the office in many ways. Firstly, we share food.
At the Caspari office we have an “international meal” once a year, just before Christmas and Hanukkah. Everyone is supposed to bring a small taste from their home country or culture. Over the years we have had workers, volunteers, and visitors from around the world: Africa, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, the USA, Canada, Denmark, Russia, etc. One volunteer came from an Iranian background!
For Russians, it seems to be very natural to share your lunch with a neighbor, and for other believers it is nice to offer a bite to your hungry friends. When I visit Finland, I am sometimes asked to bring back dark rye bread or Xylitol chewing gum. What a joy to bring very concrete blessings to the common table.
Still, our tastes differ significantly. What is just basic food for one person is an exotic experience for another … or a moment of culinary embarrassment. I still remember tasting Ethiopian injera bread for the first time. Or dark Norwegian goat cheese. It was just too weird! But I learned to like it after a few more bites. It was also funny to see the reactions of Israelis tasting black licorice salmiakki candies for the first time. One woman literally spit my precious candy into the waste basket. We are so different!
My point is not to encourage you to taste food without prejudice, but to enlarge your “spiritual tastes.” At the Caspari Center, the most important sharing happens during our morning devotions.
Those gathering times are also a kind of tasting – not of food, but of other theological viewpoints. Many times I’ve seen wondering or even confused expressions when people had completely different points of view about the rapture, spiritual warfare, end times, baptism, speaking in tongues, Torah and obeying the law, hell, heaven, the coming of the kingdom of God and the New Jerusalem, and so on.
These moments of sharing are not always easy. It is a challenge to try to understand a culture which seems to be turning everything we know upside down. Sometimes we feel just like we did after tasting injera or salmiakki for the first time. It is just too scary and strange – until we dare to taste once, then again … and maybe once more. And in the end, we might understand the real nutritional value of that “weird” food.
Still, we dare to taste only if we have a common foundation: the Bread of Life, the gospel of Yeshua. There is poisoned food in spiritual markets, too, so wariness is a healthy reaction sometimes. But when we know that we have the same foundation, we should dare to share and taste, even though the table is set in a very new and unfamiliar way.
Times are getting harder. But still God promises to set a table for us! A table to enjoy, where we can be nurtured and share fellowship with him and other believers, even though the enemy is trying to undermine our vigor and vitality.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (Ps 23:5)
And the table God is setting might include flavors from around the world, since he’s inviting our brothers and sisters from around the world too.
It is time to share!