Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Interfaith Prayers, Fasting and Actions to End World Hunger

The world produces enough food to feed everyone, nearly 2,700 calories for each person in the world each day. Yet nearly 1 in 8 people around the world suffers from chronic malnourishment. (Source: World Hunger Education Service)

-from flier for interfaith service in Des Moines, Iowa, on Oct. 16, 2013

Exactly two weeks from today (Tuesday, December 10), Pope Francis will ask people of faith around the world to pray and act to end world hunger by 2025. The prayer coincides with the gobal commemoration of  the UN's Human Rights Day and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including "the right to food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services (Article 25)."

Interfaith Voices Rise in Des Moines
The call to pray, fast and act to end world hunger was also very much on the minds of organizers of the Interfaith Prayer to End Hunger, held at the Cathedral of St. Ambrose, in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 16, 2013..

"In the midst of our bountiful Iowa harvest, join the faith communities of Central Iowa in giving thanks for blessings and in praying for the alleviation of world hunger," said the flier announcing the interfaith gathering. "Those who wish and who are able are encouraged, in a manner in harmony with their faith tradition, to fast from food on a day of their choosing prior to the service. Donations of money and nonperishable food items will be accepted during the service and will benefit hunger relief efforts."

The service, sponsored by the  Roman Catholic Diocese of Des Moines and the 2013 World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue (with the support of the Des Moines Area Religious Council) also included readings and reflections from Jewish, Budhhist, Muslim and Christian Traditions. The program shows this was a beautiful collaborative effort.

This spirit of interfaith cooperation offers a good example of how others can come together to join Pope Francis on Dec. 10 to pray and take action to end world hunger by 2025.

Bread for the World President (and 2010 World Food Prize Laureate) David Beckmann led the call to action at the end of the service in Des Moines.

In that context, I would like to share a prayer from Rev. Beckmann (offered in a different setting).

A Prayer: Thank you God for amplifying our voices
God of Righteous Bounty,
We are moved by your grace to work for justice for hungry people.
We know that you hear the prayer of the mother in Mozambique whose child is crying for food. We know that you hear the prayer of the father in Minnesota who is trying to make ends meet and feed his family. Be a balm to them, our God, and give them strength as they work to better their lives.
Please hear our prayers as well. We pray that you will give us the conviction to answer your call to serve and to speak out for hungry people.
We pray for the leaders of our nation – the decision makers who can redirect billions of dollars of help and opportunity with the stroke of a pen.
Help them to hear the cries of hungry people that are ringing in our own ears, the cries that are so close to your very heart. Give our leaders the courage, the vision, and the wisdom to help us create a world where all are fed.
Thank you, God, for helping us to turn our faith into action, for amplifying our voices. Thank you that when we speak out for hungry people, the miracle of the loaves and fishes happens again and again.
We believe that you are moving in our time to end hunger, and we are grateful that you include us as a part of this great liberation.

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