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Viewpoint from Helen Farman 15/05/2015 

as published in the Yarmouth Mercury
Dove rightHelen Farman
Light of Life Baptist Church, Ormesby

A few years ago a Jew, by the name of Ilan Zanir, was driving through an Arab village in Israel when a young Palestinian boy ran out in front of his car. Ilan hooted and braked but could not avoid hitting the boy, who he later discovered was deaf. The boy died as a result of the impact; he was thirteen years old

Ilan was haunted by this dreadful tragedy and wanted somehow to make amends by asking for the family’s forgiveness. Everyone thought he was mad. An Israeli policeman warned him what a dangerous thing it would be for an Israeli Jew to meet Arabs on the West Bank. Ilan knew that Arab tradition could lead to the family killing him as vengeance for their son’s death. Ilan pressed on. He spoke to an Arab pastor who suggested a meal of reconciliation. This was arranged. They all sat round the table, the father’s face full of tension. The father had to make the first move, to lift up a cup and taste the coffee inside it. It was the sign that he agreed to forgive. The minutes seemed like hours for Ilan. As the father lifted the cup his face softened; he smiled at Ilan and hugged him. The whole atmosphere was transformed. As I read this story it lifted my spirits and made me think that, even the simplest of eating encounters has the potential to be a heart and life-changing experience

dove leftI was recently speaking to a neighbour who had been seriously ill at one point last year. The upshot was that the family realised how little time they spent with each other and, had my neighbour died, they would have regretted missed opportunities of being together and sharing their lives. Now the family arranges to meet up for a meal three or four times a year to catch up with the news and positively enjoy each other’s company

We live in a world where the phrases ‘grabbing a bite to eat’ or ‘not finding time to eat’ are commonplace. Time is of the essence. I sent a birthday card to a friend last week and in the card, as well as writing birthday wishes, I suggested that maybe it was time we met up for a coffee again. Even as I wrote it, I felt that I had written the same words in her card last year! What happened? Did I not mean it or did I not see it as important? The fact that I didn’t get round to it says something

It strikes me that Jesus spent an awful lot of his time eating with people both in their homes and picnics outside. He ate and drank with all kinds of people and was often criticised for it. But those eating encounters resulted in people feeling wanted and loved, displays of generosity, healing of hurts and friendships restored

So, who will you invite out for a coffee this week??

GracieT (Guest) 19/05/2015 12:07
What a lovely story
Yes! time is more precious than money or achievement
spend time with your children too - be interested in their world and see how you can bring them into yours too.
Brett Crosson (Guest) 22/05/2015 15:42
A fantastic message. Thank you!