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A labour of love

18 September 2013

woman preparing a meal  

As a new graduate, moving out of the freedom and fluidity of student life into the real, grown-up world, I've made a discovery. When you come home from a full day of work, cooking dinner feels a lot like a chore.

I struggle to find the motivation. But I've also discovered that when I have friends over for dinner, or if I cook for my housemates, it feels easier. It's not a chore, there's purpose to it. We like to feed those we love.

I can't speak for parents, not being one, but it amazes me how day in, day out, they find the energy to cook for their children, on top of everything else they do.

I imagine it's something to do with how much they love their kids. We feed those we love.

When we pray 'give us today our daily bread', we're not asking for food from a vending machine, or even from a checkout assistant in a supermarket. We ask our Father.

The prayer that Jesus taught us to pray is a bold one in many ways. But he assures us we can pray it with confidence because we're asking a Father who loves us, who loves to give good things to his children.

What about those we struggle to love? 

  • In efforts to rebuild relationships and foster reconciliation, food is the best catalyst.' 

I think the connection between love and food is so strong that it works the other way around, too. We feed those we love, but we also come to love those we feed.

There's something about pouring our time, energy and resources into enabling someone else to eat that can have a big impact on how we feel. Feeding people changes us.

It's a tough thing to do, but I'm sure it changes how we feel towards people we find irritating, people we'd rather not give away our precious free time to, even people who've hurt us.

In efforts to rebuild relationships and foster reconciliation, food has got to be the best catalyst. It softens us and helps us to see another person's humanity.

Sometimes, though, it's apathy that is the barrier to love.

Most of the people we don't love are the people we don't remember.

Maybe they are the marginalised and the poor in our communities, the people we walk past on the street without noticing. Would we be motivated to love them more actively if we shared food with them first?

Or maybe they are those in need in our global community, people too far away to be on our radar, who are too easy to forget as soon as we sit down at our own tables in comfort and with plenty.

As we ask our loving Father for our daily bread this week, and as we go about sharing food with family and friends, the challenge is to find a way to love the annoying neighbour, the socially awkward colleague, and those on the margins we would otherwise forget about.

We feed those we love, and we love those we feed.

Claire Jones, digital and events intern, Christian Aid youth team.


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