Friends, I just got back from Nepal. I traveled halfway around the globe and spent one whole month in Khokana, my birthplace which is also one of the most affected areas by the recent earthquake. The 7.8 magnitude scale earthquake shook the very foundations in the western and central regions of Nepal on 25th April 2015. Waves of aftershocks followed by another fresh 7.4 Rector scale quake destroyed other remaining infrastructures in Khokana. The aftershocks of a 4-5 magnitude scale are persistently felt almost daily. I was there for relief work, solely focusing on the community health project. Needs are sky-high; generous gifts from people and national/international humanitarian agencies have been helping people with basic needs.
My one-month stay was fruitful, in a sense, that I was able to build six permanent toilets for a displaced community of more than 100 people which consists of 27 households living in their temporary shelters on a public property called Bäkhä (pronounced as Baa Khaa). Prior to my arrival there, they had only two makeshift toilets made of only bamboo and corrugated galvanized zinc roofing sheets. No proper sewage management or privacy. One of them was already knocked down and thus unusable.
Basic survival needs are demanding, as they will be living in temporary shelters for, at least, the next two years. Some of those living in shelters will never be able to come out and move back to the old resettlement due to poverty. They might end up living in the slum. Yet, these people did not look broken. I saw their will to come out of this situation. I saw their resilience to get up and move on. Meanwhile, the spirit of dependence on outsiders was also prevalent among other survivors. Those in need had less or nothing, but others who already had were amassing more. Greed, selfishness, dissension, discord, and jealousy pervade the once generous hearts.
Sometimes, we easily lose sight of eternity when something bad happens to people, and we tend to care only about their physical needs. As much as they need help amid this magnitude of the catastrophe, they also need a redeemer who can see them through and through and change their hearts. God has called us to be ambassadors to show his love through our actions. Please pray for the survivors that Christ’s love will be manifested in their lives. And also pray for God’s people who are working to bring the hope of Christ to the displaced people.
Theodicy: An answer to the problem of *evil that attempts to “justify the ways of God to man” by explaining God’s reasons for allowing evil. Two of the more important theodicies are the “soul-making theodicy,” which argues that God allows evil so as to make it possible for humans to develop certain desirable virtues, and the “free will theodicy,” which argues that God had to allow for the possibility of evil if he wished to give humans (and angelic beings) *free will. Theodicies are often distinguished from defenses, which argue that it is reasonable to believe that God has reasons for allowing evil even if we do not know what those reasons are.
Evans, C. Stephen (2010-03-17). Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion: 300 Terms & Thinkers Clearly & Concisely Defined (The IVP Pocket Reference Series) (p. 114). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
What is even more telling, for me as a mathematician, is that Genesis 1 separates God’s creation and organization of the universe into six days, each of which begins with the phrase “And God said …” Now, doubtless this is language that predates modern scientific language, by definition. It would, however, be rather unwise to dismiss it as having nothing significant to say. For the very same emphasis on God speaking that we find in Genesis is also to be found at the beginning of the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word … All things were made through him” (John 1:1,3). John informs us that the physical universe owes its existence to God, who is the Logos. The word logos conveys ideas of “word,” “command,” and “information.”
 John C. Lennox, Seven Days that Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 141.
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,…” Acts 2:46 ESV.
“So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together.” 1 Corinthians 11:33 NIV
This “eating together” is not unusual for some, especially with friends and coworkers. On the other hand, it is a very big thing for some. In the hustle and bustle of our everyday life, we find it hard to have a meal together with family. People take two or three jobs to provide for their families. In some families, spouses take jobs in two different shifts. The husband taking a job on the night shift while the wife working on the second shift allows them to watch the kids at home. When was the last time some of you had dinner together with your family? It was most likely the weekends or holidays for some! Dining together is a very special ritual for my family. My parents always expected all four of their children to come to eat with them every day. That was something special I still cherish; our conversation, sharing bits and pieces from our everyday life, planning for things, etc., was a big part of our family. The Bible also highlights the significance of eating together. In the ancient Jewish culture, coming to the table and eating together was a matter of spirituality. It required them to keep the Old Testament dietary laws and also maintain table etiquette by staying ceremonially clean. Without going into the details of the dietary laws of the Bible, let me explain why we should dine together as a family or church small group.
1) Getting to Know Each Other Food or hard liquor, are somehow more appealing to people and thus brings people closer. We can see how quickly food or drink can turn perfect strangers to connect and relate to each other as if they had known each other for ages. When we invite someone or go with a group to eat together, we talk. Don’t we? As we talk, we also start opening up. That helps us to know about each other. Knowing each other is important to bond in a relationship, thus it fosters warmth and a sense of belonging. It also helps a new member of the group connect to the core group members. I see the invitation to the table as a genuine effort to know them personally.
2) Strengthen Communication Communication is vital in every relationship. As we come to eat together, we may talk about a wide variety of topics that interests people at the table once we get to know each other. Everyone in the group can be asked about their input on certain things or simply carry on casual conversation. Next, getting to know each other helps us open up more and communicate about one’s well-being. When we listen to each other or show interest in someone’s story, it demonstrates that the person is valued and his or her ideas or opinions matter in the group or family. Honest communication can be very meaningful in strengthening the relationship in a family or church small groups. When we are open to talking, we can express ourselves and accordingly plan things for the best interest of the group. Eating together now means we are not merely communicating ideas at the table but also learning from each other simultaneously. This can be a unifying experience for all involved members of the small group.
| Eating together can be a head start to beginning to know someone and garner a relationship that is built on trust and carried on by honest communication which promotes sharing.|
3) Strengthen Relationships Eating together can set a tone for carrying out meaningful conversations. Opening up and communicating graciously and honestly builds up each other and overcomes divisions and rifts that ever existed. It brings healing to broken hearts and renews and strengthens relationships. Eating together just gives you a sense of intimacy. To have this sense of gratitude and belonging in the group is to have confidence in members of the small group. In this sense, we hold each other accountable.
4) Promote Sharing Ministry is teamwork. Any group that maintains a healthy relationship with group members, and communicates effectively and clearly will most likely succeed in the mission or ministry. Sharing requires the trust of each other in the group. Without having known each other and bonded with group members, people cannot merely share their lives, issues, struggles, or anything personal. The level of trust in the group determines how much one is ready and open to sharing. Therefore, the idea of sharing your personal life and struggles with someone certainly requires that you can trust and count on the person or group you are with. Eating together can be a head start to beginning to know someone and garner a relationship that is built on trust and carried on by honest communication which promotes sharing. So, be sure to include others, since the Gospel narratives make known Christ is too often around the table with bread and wine.