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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Challenges of hunger

Spreading faith, feeding the poor are interwined

Hunger today provides both an opportunity and a challenge for us as individuals, congregations and the ELCA. Hunger, of course, is not only hunger for daily bread but also spiritual hunger for meaning and God’s presence in our lives.

In the Gospels, particularly in John, Jesus responds to both kinds of hunger. When confronted with a hungry crowd of thousands and a meager amount of fish and bread, he made the meager become the miraculous as all were fed and the leftovers gathered. Jesus’ act of feeding hungry people became for them the fulfillment of the petition he taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.”

Later in John, Jesus declares: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh” (6:51). Jesus, the living bread, is present for us in the Word proclaimed and the sacraments received. Christ satisfies our yearning to be forgiven mercifully, our longing to be loved steadfastly, and our hungering for meaning in this life and for life eternal.


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