FACES - YWAM Singapore Issue.2017 - Page 27

The Lost Art O f wo r s h i p It is with great interest and a dash of curiosity that we observe Joseph Chean (“Joe”), the National Director of YWAM Singapore, prepare intently, a thoughtfully curated meal in the comforts of home; indulging in the exquisite pleasure that combines two of his well-versed expressions: food and worship. Born into a Buddhist family, food offerings to the gods were commonplace in his youth, and the notion of worship through food recalls a religious ritual that ties him back to his past. But as he, belatedly, gained new understanding of exaltation through his hands (the craft of food), his positive pleasure became unmistakably real, and its intersection with biblical reality, undeniably crucial. Earthly pleasures toe the twin errors of ingratitude and idolatry, but run those thoughts to the One who awakens our joy through creation, and we’ll steer our sights towards God who has given us these earthly gifts. And we cannot help but respond to Him in praise. The universe isn’t a fraud and Joe’s expression of worship exhibits an integrated joy that embraces the things of the earth. We see him enjoying God in everything, and everything in God. In a delightful conversation that brimmed with praises for hospitable encounters and food, Joe actualised the understanding that earthly blessings awaken one’s joy, and spontaneously overflows into adoration for the Lord. An edited version of the exchange appears below. What makes a good eating experience? An unforgettable experience communicates honour and value. I attended a leadership school in Scotland and wasn’t accustomed to the wet and gloomy weather. Rita, the head of hospitality, who spent years washing laundry in the Thai-Cambodian refugee camp, knew that I missed home, and asked me what I enjoyed most about the country. “The scones,” I replied. It was completely unexpected, but she threw a surprise tea that afternoon to cheer me up. It was a beautiful set up, replete with flowers, a basket of scones, freshly whipped cream, strawberries and brewed coffee. Rita shared, “After washing laundry for many years, I learnt to treat everyone like I would treat Jesus.” That unspoken experience shifts your focus from the food, to the love that goes into it, and you feel incredibly valued. How do you see God / communicate with Him through your enjoyment of food? The fascinating process of creation arises when you’re involved in the things that God has created. The perfect pairing of spices and its infusion in the right proportions can enhance a whole dish, and it opened my understanding of what Jesus meant when He said, ‘You are the salt of the earth.’ All it takes is a pinch of salt to alter the texture and flavour of any cuisine. And the wisdom of throwing out salt that loses its saltiness resonates with any chef. Enjoying what God has created is natural. It’s like the study of the universe. We are awed by what we see and how much we have yet to know. It’s the same with food. When someone gives you a culinary tip that pushes your dish to another level, you’re in awe of its improved flavour, texture and aroma. As you taste the unending richness of God’s creation, you can l ook at an everyday basil and say, “This is fantastic.” That’s when you appreciate what God has created, even in the ordinary. 25