Greetings from Nazareth – the city of many friends including Martina and Elias at Cactus (www.nazarethbathhouse.com) and the Mazzawi Brothers Naim, Rami & Basil. They are a bit like the Three Musketeers and a late meal in the restuarant Rida was a great occasion of catching up, and hearing all about Rami’s recent engagement. (Many women across the world now crying at such a loss…..).
The meal followed a time of Taize worship in the chapel of the Little Brothers of Charles de Foucauld, attended by various Christians from across the city, and put together by Basil Mazzawi. I had the privilege of leading the English readings, and the songs – “Sing praises all you peoples, sing praises to the Lord”, “Within the darkest night, you kindle the fire that never dies away”, “Stay with us O Lord Jesus Christ, night will soon fall. Then stay with us O Lord Jesus Christ, light in our darkness”. I read some words of Brother Roger of Taize which were quite a challenge – “Jesus, love of all my loving, you were always in me and I was forgetting you. You were in my heart of hearts, and I was looking for you elsewhere. When I kept myself far from you, you were waiting for me. And now I dare to tell you: ‘Christ, you are my life'”.
My friendship with the Mazzawi’s started some years ago when I walked into their shop, and heard Taize music being played. Naim wore a Taize cross, and talked to me about the Spirit of Christ – language I understood from my time at Taize in the past. It is great to be able to share food, friendship and worship with these very modern Nazarenes. I write my blog from their shop, with the song ‘Yes, I shall see the goodness of our God – hold firm – trust in the Lord’ playing in the background. An encouraging word for us all.
Charles de Foucauld wrote a famous Prayer of Abandonment that I carry in my Bible:
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
Salaam from Nazareth.