Saturday, August 18, 2018

Taste and see.

Today, while driving through an unfamiliar suburban neighborhood near Chicago, I saw peace.

A young girl, perhaps 11 years old, rode her bike, smiling broadly, her hijab furling in the wind. On the next block, an enormous star of David stretched across the brick facade of a synagogue. We had just enjoyed lunch at a Lebanese restaurant, prepared by a chef from Baghdad, who had learned from European chefs while living in Amsterdam. A Syrian Christian woman waited on us, while a 17-year-old South American  guy swept the floor. People of all colors from many nations filled this spotless eatery, savoring the flavors, aromas and atmosphere.

A car salesman, the grandson of a Palestinian refugee, suggested the lunch place. He told me he could  trace his ancestry to an ancient, tiny village near  the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.  Some of his extended family, who are Muslim, still live there. His boss, a friendly Catholic, explained the rosary tattooed artistically around his forearm.  He asked me about the Jerusalem cross on my ring. I told him about my Jewish friend who located a craftsman to engrave it. This jeweler chose a Muslim surgeon to perform a very delicate procedure on his back.

Despite the turmoil, tension and tragedy that fills the 24-hour-news cycle, ordinary people with powerful differences, enjoy swapping stories and celebrating the things they share every day.

It's a beautiful thing to experience peace in action.  Thousands of years ago, the psalmist, David, sang it this way, "Taste and see that the Lord is good." (Psalm 34:9). On this day, it genuinely felt like God was among these people, alive and joyful nourishing their serenity. Food never tasted this good.

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