Thursday, November 23

Grazie, Tino; 107

The sun is setting on another American Thanksgiving. The infamous "Black Friday" is approaching. (For all of our dear non-American friends, tomorrow is the day in the States when hoards of shopper-bugs descend on shopping malls and stores to get the most tasty Christmas sales. Some even camp out on the streets in the bitter cold to be the first in the door at 6am. Insane consumerism, at our best.) Tonight, my mind is in Italy. I'm remembering Tino from Milan. And I can't stop reading Psalm one oh seven. The one with this four-pronged refrain:

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! (NKJV)

This summer I did a three-week mission in Italy with a team from 24-7 Prayer. We prayed through the cities, met with different churches, and helped set up some 24-7 prayer rooms. We met Tino on our first stop in Milan. He worked at the church and lived a beautifully simple life.

What I remember about Tino is that he called me "Gina." (A rough Italian equivalent of "Jenelle"?). And I remember that he rode his bike 20 km both to and from work everyday, because he didn't have a car. I remember how his mobile phone would ring non-stop during dinner, and how he'd refuse to answer it. In Tino's Italy, meals are sacred.

Most of all I remember how Tino always bowed his head to humbly say a "thank you" prayer both before and after our meal. I wish I caught every word of his Italian, but for the most part I got it. He was pausing to tell God thanks for being God. (And at the end of his meal, no less! Who does that?)

When I read Psalm 107, I hear Tino waving his work-worn hands at me, urging me as a Psalmist: "Oh, that you would give thanks to the Lord for his goodness, and his wonderful works towards you..."

1 comment:

Whitney said...

I've never heard of praying after the meal either!

Yes, meals are very important in Italy =)