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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Have we the moral courage?

We must make ending hunger a 'core conviction' of our church

Imagine waking up each morning with the same horrifying thought: Where will I find today's food for my children? It's what Angela, Heng, Musimbi and millions of other parents thought this very morning.

With an estimated 800 million people in our world chronically undernourished and 1.2 billion people subsisting on less than $1 a day, the reality of hunger should scandalize our consciences as Christians living in one of the most affluent nations on earth.

Why a scandal? Because the Bible is crystal clear about God's will for hungry people. God hears the cry of the poor (Exodus 3:7-8) and fills "the hungry ... with good things" (Psalm 107:9). Jesus' ministry reveals God's will that the hungry be fed: "Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. ...Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry" (Luke 6:21,25).

Jesus turns to his disciples and says: "You give them something to eat" (Mark 6:37). Jesus commanded that we remember him through a meal of bread and wine with the promise of enough for all.

As we pray the Lord's Prayer, we ask: "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). The Bible is replete with passages that make indisputable God's will that the hungry be fed.

Why a scandal? Because there is enough food for all. The problem is entirely one of food distribution. We treat food as a marketable commodity, instead of as a basic human necessity. The church of Jesus Christ belongs at the vanguard of those who insist on a paradigm shift, from accepting as normal a world of 850 million hungry neighbors to expecting as a matter of human decency that food be distributed equitably to all those in need. Christians are called by God to be the catalyst for normalizing the expectation that all people be fed.


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