Posts Tagged ‘Lent’

Doing Something About Hunger

August 30th, 2011 No comments

You may not be aware, our church is one of four that supports a local food pantry, the Joshua Tree Community Food Pantry. (Watch the video some of our kids made about it.)

There are still hungry people in America:

However, national food insecurity data reveal that about 45% of those struggling with hunger actually have incomes above the federal poverty level and 53% of poor households are food secure1. Thus, measuring need based on local poverty rates alone provides an incomplete illustration of the potential need for food assistance within our communities. More accurate assessments of need across all income levels within our service areas can assist Feeding America and our network of food banks in strategic planning for charitable food services that best support hungry Americans, as well as inform the public policy discussion so that vital federal nutrition programs can better serve those in need.

And by “America,” I mean “next door.” (See the map here.)

There are a lot of reasons for hunger, including the utterly insane use of food for automobile fuel. We can hope and work for non-stupid public policy to help with the problem. But in the meantime, one of the ways you can help is to donate food to a community food pantry, or volunteer at one.

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Dry Bones

February 28th, 2009 No comments

I don’t know how many of you have seen the movie Star Wars. I have. I’ve seen it dozens of times, and all its sequels and the more recent prequels. You could fairly say I’m a Star Wars fanboy — and I’ve done what I could to make sure my kids are too.

I know the exact moment when I became a Star Wars fan. It was the first time I saw Star Wars, about 30 seconds into the movie.

If you’ve seen it, you remember the opening scene has this battle between two space ships. The first one goes roars overhead, then there’s a moment with these green laser blasts zipping through space, then the second ship goes by. And goes by. And goes by. And keeps going by.

(If you haven’t seen it, watch it on youtube.)

Where the first ship passed overhead in a moment, the second ship takes about 15 or 20 seconds to fly by, so you realize just how big it is.

The moviemaker is able, in the first minute, to give you an idea of the scale of his story.

There’s an equally cinematic moment in Ezekiel 37:

1 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”

A valley full of dry bones! Close your eyes and take a moment to picture it.

What is it that God is revealing here? What does Ezekiel’s vision mean, that these dry bones were restored to life?

Whatever else it may mean, it says something about the scale God operates on. It says God is bigger than our problems. God is bigger than our imaginations.

It’s helpful to remember that.

Some days I wonder how things will turn out with our church. I think it’s possible for us to turn things around financially. I have a vision of a church that is making an impact in people’s lives — here in our community, but also among our own members. I believe that. But there are days when I’m discouraged.

That goes double for the broader problems in our society. I don’t believe the troubles with our economy will be our undoing, nor the war on terror. I believe our society can still address problems with education and health care and the disintegration of the family.

This season of Lent is a time for us to remember what a sorry situation we are in. It’s a time for us to consider how pervasive sin and its effects are in the world. It’s a time to see just how much the world resembles a valley full of dry bones.

Easter is coming, but it’s not here yet. While we wait for it to arrive, we can cling to our hope in God. Because our problems are real, and serious, and very, very big. But God is bigger still.

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