Thursday, May 21, 2009

Speaking of Hunger: Sermons of Challenge and Hope

The other day I stumbled across the Seeds of Hope website. I was quite taken by the tagline, which reads Hope for the Healing of Hunger and Poverty.

It turns out that this website contains a treasure of resources related to raising awareness and reflecting about hunger and poverty. There are links to denominational resources on hunger, educational activities and a treasure trove of worship resources.

What I found most compelling was a subsection entitled Speaking of Hunger: Sermons of Challenge and Hope,

Here's the description: This collection of sermons is sponsored by the Alliance of Baptists (AOB) and produced by Seeds of Hope.
"For a number of years, Christian leaders in the anti-hunger movement have been calling for a cache of sermons about hunger. This year the AOB has enabled Seeds to pull together this collection."

There are some powerful sermons contained in this section.

For example, there's a sermon entitled Counting Calories in a Starving World
According to Jesus those who don’t care for the poor have missed the gospel. Regardless of what’s said at eleven o’clock on Sunday morning in most churches, people who neglect the needy aren’t God’s people. How could Jesus have been any clearer? This story is disturbing, because we are calorie counters in a hungry world. Have you noticed that our meals have been getting bigger? As recently as five years ago, a 10-inch plate was standard in restaurants.
And then there's Knowing Jesus in the Breaking of the Bread
The growing millions of hungry people in our world are both a judgment upon our overstuffed affluence and an opportunity that presses urgently upon us. When nearly 10 million people in our land, over one-third of them children, live in households experiencing hunger, Jesus is present, demanding a response. When one in ten households in our affluent nation reports that its access to food is extremely limited or uncertain, Jesus is present, awaiting a response. An estimated 828 million people on our planet are undernourished.
And Storing Grain and Starving People
We should simplify our lifestyles and not ignore the hungry. We should become advocates for the oppressed, creating a world built upon economic and social justice. Why did Jesus think his disciples would do this? Perhaps Jesus believed they would see the sacrifices he made to help others and follow suit.
Finally, there's What! Does the Lord Require?
“Justice!” God requires you and me “to do justice.” And the verb “to do” emphasizes this is not an ideal, but a practice. It is not a concept, but an ethic. It is not some grand philosophy; it is something you do. It is not a passive state of non-aggression, an I-don’t-bother-anybody-else-so-don’t-bother-me isolation, but an active engagement in the world. Justice is about the equal treatment of all people. Justice is about equal opportunity for everyone.

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