We have integrated Table Manna with our church website.
In her book “Take This Bread” Sara Miles tells the story of how taking communion one Sunday morning transformed her life and the life of thousands in her city. “I took communion, I passed the bread to others, and then I kept going, compelled to find new ways to share what I’d experienced. I started a food pantry and gave away literally tons of fruit and vegetables and cereal around the same altar where I’d first received the body of Christ. I organized new pantries all over my city to provide hundreds and hundreds of hungry families with free groceries each week. Without committees or meetings or even an official telephone number, I recruited scores of volunteers and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. My new vocation didn’t turn out to be as simple as going to church on Sundays, folding my hands in the pews, and declaring myself “saved.”…..I had to trudge in the rain through housing projects; sit on the curb wiping the runny nose of a psychotic man; stick a battered woman’s .357 Magnum in a cookie tin in the trunk of my car….I learned about the great American scandal of the politics of food, the economy of hunger, and the rules of money….all blown into my life through the restless power of a call to feed people, widening what I thought of as my “community” in ways that were exhilarating, confusing, often scary.” (from the Prologue)
How do you feel about feeding other people? What connections do you make to feeding others when you receive communion at The Table? How might you wonder and share your thinking about this with someone today?
There is a great deal of information that may be learned from the website for this phenomenal documentary “A Place at the Table”. Please take time to visit, become a Hunger Fighter by playing the game and find out more!
According to data from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research’s California Health Interview Survey, at least 4 million low-income Californians struggled with food insecurity during 2011-12.
Food-insecurity is the inability to consistently afford enough food.
Researchers find that food-insecure adults face higher risks of chronic diseases (like diabetes and hypertension) as well as depression and poor mental health. For children, food insecurity is also linked to poor academic outcomes.
To learn more about this visit Map the Meal Gap and find your county.
We continue our worship series, The Art & Resurrection of Justice, this week with focus on Food Insecurity.
Outline for The Art & Resurrection of Justice
•april 27: human trafficking (John 20.19-31)
•may 4: food insecurity (Luke 24.13-49)
•may 11: listening to the voiceless (John 10.1-10)
Worship this Sunday will hold the story of Emmaus (Luke 23.13-49) in conversation with food insecurity and the recent documentary A Place at the Table. We encourage you to view the documentary if you are able. The film is available on DVD and iTunes.
Read Luke 24.13-49.
The story of the Risen Christ on the road to Emmaus states, “But [the two walking on the road to Emmaus] urged [the Risen Christ] strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight” (Luke 24.29-31).
Think of a meal you have shared with others in which your eyes were opened. Who was present? What was happening? How did breaking bread shape your capacity to see differently? Have you ever experienced the power and hope of resurrection while breaking bread?
The introduction to A Place at the Table states: “Fifty million people in the U.S.—one in four children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine the issue of hunger in America through the lens of three people struggling with food insecurity: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford. Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides — as they have in the past — that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all.”
Have you ever experienced hunger yourself? If so, how did the experience impact you physically and emotionally and spiritually?
How are currently eating in a healthy and sustainable way? What changes, if any, have you made in the last few years? What changes would you like to make? How might you support the availability of healthy and sustainable food for all?
“Justice is what love looks like in public.”
~ Cornell West
Here is a video from the Justice Conference 2014 that I attended. Justin Dillon, founder of Made in a Free World helped me to understand the nuances and complexities of Human Trafficking. You might find him helpful as well.
“If you break a good law, justice must be invoked not only for goodness’ sake but for the good of your own soul. Justice may consist of paying a price for what you’ve done or simply of the painful knowledge that you deserve to pay a price which is payment enough. Without one form of justice or the other, the result is ultimately disorder and grief for you and everybody. Thus justice is itself not unmerciful.
Justice also does not preclude mercy. It makes mercy possible. Justice is the pitch of the roof and the structure of the walls. Mercy is the patter of rain on the roof and the life sheltered by the walls. Justice is the grammar of things. Mercy is the poetry of things. ~from Whistling in the Dark by Frederick Buechner
Most people are not aware that slavery still exists in our society, let alone that there are 27 million people enslaved around the world. In order for the poetry of mercy to rain down on the victims of human trafficking we must first educate ourselves about the issue. Take 10 minutes today to educate yourself about 21st century human slavery.
An old silent pond.
Into the pond a frog jumps.
Splash! Silence again.
“It is perhaps the best known of all Japanese haiku. No subject could be more humdrum. No language could be more pedestrian. Matsu Basho, the poet, makes no comment on what he or she is describing. He implies no meaning, message, or metaphor. He simply invites our attention to no more and no less than just this: the old pond in its watery stillness, the kerplunk of the frog, the gradual return of the stillness.
In effect he put a frame around the moment, and what the frame does is enable us to see not just something about the moment but the moment itself in all its ineffable ordinariness and particularity. The chances are that if we had been passing by when the frog jumped, we wouldn’t have noticed a thing or, noticing it, wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But the frame sets it off from everything else that distracts us. It makes possible a second thought.
…the most basic lesson that art teaches us is to stop, look, and listen to life on this planet, including our own lives, as vastly richer, deeper, more myserious business than most of the time it ever occurs to us to suspect as we bumble along from day to day on automatic pilot.” (excerpted from Whistling in the Dark by Frederick Buechner)
This is what we hope our new worship series “The Art and Resurrection of Justice” will help us to do…put a frame around Justice so that we might more clearly hear God’s call for our lives.
As you go through your day today, what might you be missing? Try to give everything you see a “second thought”. The places where people work. Are those really just massage parlors for anyone and everyone? What about our hotels? What about our eating establishments? Put a frame around them and notice what you see.
While we celebrated the beauty & mystery of Easter on Sunday, the season of Easter will continue for fifty days. We’ll spend the first few weeks of Easter in a worship series called The Art & Resurrection of Justice.
Outline for The Art & Resurrection of Justice
Read John 20.19-31. We will be holding this biblical text in conversation with human trafficking this Sunday. This will be a challenging topic for all of us. We will hold the ancient text and the reality of human trafficking as we look for signs of resurrection and new life amidst despair.
Here is a link to learn more about human trafficking at madeinafreeworld.com/slavery.
Many people doubt the reality of modern slavery and most of us turn away from seeing the wounds it inflicts upon children of God. A few years ago a group called Made in a Free World asked the world one question, “How Many Slaves Work For You?”. They received an overwhelming response from every country on the planet. Learn your footprint here and join the millions of people around the world who have started demanding products Made In A Free World.
The Risen Christ says, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
How might God be sending you into the world to address the brutality of human trafficking? For what purpose are you being sent? To whom is God sending you? How might you be part of offering peace to children and adults caught up in the vicious cycle of human trafficking?