Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Lord's Supper and the Global Food Crisis

A strange thing happened this past sunday morning. I didn't like my sermon very much. I was using the lectionary gospel, John 17. I am sure that there is much there that is important theologically and spiritually vital, but I really have a tough time preaching John in general. So I'm up earlier than usual trying to salvage this thing loosely defined as a sermon when I decide to check out 'Religion and Ethics News Weekly,

There was a report on the growing global food crisis. I was shocked and horrified by this report.
If you would like to view it, go to

Children in Haiti eating mud cookies because that was the only thing parents could provide for them. And it occured to me that this was communion sunday at our church. I would explain before the breaking of the bread that this is the 'feast of the kingdom' open to all, a symbol of not only the spiritual care of Christ for the individual, but a metaphor of the totality of grace and salvation, mind, body and spirit, which Christ left for the world through the church and the Holy Spirit. We would eat the bread and share the cup and go home to a sunday meal. And children in Haite (and many other places), would take the eucharist made of mud.

this I had to speak of in my sermon. I read from Luke where the disciples eyes could only see the risen Christ in the breaking of bread and wondered with the congregation if this could be more than a symbol of the Lord's Supper? Could this also mean that the hungry could only experience the presence of the Kingdom of God in Jesus after their empty stomachs were filled? Could we celebrate Pentecost next Sunday and the perichoresis, the indwelling of God the Creator, Jesus the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit our sustainer knowing that across the world children in Haiti new more of destruction than creation, more of slavery to hunger than redemption from it, more of being drained than sustained? I couldn't share the bread and cup with my family, God's people, without at least lamenting this inequality and lifting up the irony of our celebration of a feast that so many have not yet experienced.

I know the further irony is that this has been going on all along. The food crisis has worsened, but children go hungry and contract disease due to malnutrition all the time. Now I realize it. I feel a little late to the dance. And I have no clear sense of what a solution might be, at least what role I might play or Berean, my church, might play.

In her book 'Life Abundant' Sallie McFague asserts that Liberation Theology in North America would be liberating ourselves from a consumer culture and society that dominates the world and allows me to get cheap T-shirts, fruit, furniture, etc, while others, especially those in the Southern Hemisphere, live in poverty.

I believe in this indwelling presence of God and that it unites me with the starving and the diseased. I accept that my consumer lifestyle contributes to the powers and principalities that oppress these people.

what to do next is the question for me and for Berean.

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