Taking Jesus Literally

In the gospels we hear again and again how Jesus loved to break bread with others. He repeatedly sent his disciples out to see that people were fed, even when it seemed impossible (Matthew 14:13-21).

Telling about our churches' food pantries or tallying up our hours at the local soup kitchen doesn't feed anyone. When we have more than we need, there is room to share more. At a time when our government is heading in the wrong economic direction and when Congressional leaders are out-doing each another in doing less for those in need, Jesus asks “do you love me”? If we do, we will feed his people. (You can look it up: John 21:15-19).

Perhaps now is a good time to challenge one another to take Jesus literally. Food ministries in the US are close to crisis status, with declining support and increasing need. The front page of today's New York Times features a photograph of a child starving in Somalia (“Somalis Waste Away as Insurgents Block Escape From Famine”). Its famine hits world attention as the number at risk of death rises towards - or above - one million. Can you look this child, probably dead by now, in the face?

I have a clue about what Jesus would do. How about us?

I challenge us each to make a donation to hunger relief and to ask our congregations to do something beyond what we are doing now. Lutheran World Relief makes great use of donated funds, as does the ELCA's World Hunger program. Bread for the World does a great job of ecumenical advocacy and can help educate congregations about responses to Jesus' command: “feed my lambs.”

Maybe you can even drop in at the local soup kitchen and share a meal with those being served. All at once, you can fill your belly, make some friends, and feed your hunger - for justice.

Photo: “A woman held a malnourished child at a camp. Somali aid workers said dozens of children are dying every day, most buried in unmarked graves” (cropped). Credit: Tyler Hicks, NY Times.


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