Communion.

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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?

Food Insecurity

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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.

 

Toward Sunday

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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

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“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.