10 April 2013
Everyone is sitting around the table, the main course has just been served - a delicious roast dinner - and our glasses are filled.
Quickly we bow our heads and one selected member of the party soon pipes up: ‘Father, thank you for what we are about to eat, thank you for great friends and family. May our days be truly blessed.’ Eyes open and soon the sounds of cutlery clinking on plates and noisy chatter fill the room.
How many Sunday roasts resemble this scene? How many times each week do we meet with people and eat, or go out for coffee to catch up?
Food brings us together. Just as Jesus broke the bread and passed around wine at Passover with his 12 disciples, he was figuratively and literally sharing food. I wonder how much we take this for granted: eating together forms community.
The IF campaign highlights significant political, social, environmental and economic issues occurring in places where men, women and children go hungry each day.
We need to be praying for transformations in government policy, for actions against land grabbing and tax avoidance, and actions for aid and transparency.
However, we also need to scale it down. We need to remember the individuals - our brothers and sisters, both old and young, who go to bed hungry each night, who don’t have that ‘community atmosphere’ formed around sharing a meal. May we not forget them as people, just like you and me.
Amos (5:21-24) says:
'I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.
'Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!'
We are being called into action. For those of us who are lucky enough to spend time with our loved ones sharing food, I believe we are called to not forget those who can’t.
This week, I am challenged to not just say grace at meal times, but for every cup of tea and Rich Tea biscuit, for every snack that I consume. To remind me that if circumstances were different, it could have been me.
Jenny Gwyther is one of Tearfund's Emerging Influencers, running an innovative and empowering project to equip people to respond to issues of injustice.
Father, may we be thankful for our daily bread. May we remember that ours is not just - 'mine in my world of plenty' - but includes brothers, sisters and families who constitute our global community.
May we persevere in your name to see justice done, such that one day, our brothers and sisters will be able to enjoy their food; that their food be associated with more than just basic survival.
Father, we thank you for your generosity and abundant love, we pray for radical transformation, that we may soon see a world in which eating joyously together is commonplace. Amen.
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