My first Christmas away from home I was 24 and living in a rural Thai village as a Peace Corps volunteer. On Christmas Day, the teachers at my school, every one of them Buddhist, surprised me with a Christmas dinner, with American food that they made themselves. It included deep fried hamburgers, popcorn as an entree, and a bowl of peanut butter. The worst Christmas music I ever heard blared from the school’s PA system. It was wonderful.
As I looked around I saw people who were providing hospitality to the resident alien (me), who wanted me to know that they cared about me, and were glad I was there.
I was reminded of that tonight as members of St. Dunstan’s provided a Ramadan feast for our Syrian refugee family. Access to international grocery stores and restaurants and Google made it easier to find the appropriate food, but the dynamic was the same as that Christmas in Thailand 37 years ago.
Providing hospitality to the stranger, coming together over food, building bridges, not walls. I am so grateful to be part of a congregation that understands that this is our task as people of faith.
Ramadan Mubarak. Blessed Ramadan.