Hunger Rumblings!

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost (World Hunger)                      23 October 2011

(Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18   Psalm 1   1 Thessalonians 2:1-8   Matthew 22:34-46)

“Hunger Rumblings!”

Beginning:   Be a Human Bean, from Hunger and Hope, Dramas about Poverty, Hunger & Mission, Carl H. Billings Jr. ELCA World Hunger, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. 2006.

I wonder if it ever happens that sometimes your stomach begins to make noise?  We usually say, “my stomach is rumbling.” 

What is your stomach saying to you when that happens? (I am hungry.)

What do we do when your stomach tells us that it is hungry and it begins to rumble? (We get something to eat.)

I would remind all of you this morning (Bonita the Bean would do the same, I think!) that there are a lot of people in the world today (852 million, says Bonita Bean) whose stomachs rumble for a long time and who are unable to get something to eat.

I believe we can do something about this!

I’d like you to meet three people:

1.)     Meet Luku Elema, a 36-year-old mother of seven, who lives in the Abaya district of Eastern Ethiopia.  It’s always been a challenge in that area of Ethiopia for crop production to support an entire community; however, recent difficult weather and changing rainfall patterns have led to extreme drought and food shortages.  Less than a year ago Luku received three goats from ELC World Hunger.  The goats are surviving, providing Luku and her children milk to drink and some to sell at the market.  Within five months three goats became seven.  She now has income, and even in a drought, she is one step closer to breaking the cycle of poverty.

2.)     Meet Mahendra from Nepal, who is in charge of a pig-raising group that helps feed Bhutanese natives who have been forced to flee their country and live in a refugee camp.  Mahendra is part of a pig-raising cooperative funded by gifts from the ELCA World Hunger.  Each group, including refugees and families from the host community, receive training and a gift of a few piglets.  This cooperation and teamwork has nurtured relationships, dispersed tensions, and sparked economic growth, all building a more secure future for their children.

3.)     Meet Esta from Haiti, a country where most people live off of the land—most often growing and selling bananas, potatoes, oranges and other fruits and vegetables.  But in the area of Thiotte, where Esta lives, only one crop grows with any regularity:  coffee.  As a result, Esta and her neighbors never earned a fair price for their coffee until she joined a local cooperative established by gifts to the ELCA World Hunger.  Little by little Esta saved extra funds until she was able to buy a few chickens and honey bees.  She now sells eggs and honey at the market.  She and her family now have a dependable source of income.

Each one of these three individuals and many, many more say:  Thank you!

As Bonita Bean might sayit takes more than meals to feed the world.  It takes Immediate Relief; Development; Education; Advocacy, Work.

Today we invite you to join the journey, sincerely believing that we can do something about this plague called World Hunger!

In the Gospel text we just heard a few minutes ago where the Pharisees try to trick Jesus in their question to him concerning the greatest of the commandments, Jesus responds to their question in a most radical manner, when he says that loving one’s neighbor is like loving God.  Maybe sometimes we miss out on just how radical the compassion and generosity is to which God calls us!

Hunger is not an issue of charity; it is an issue of justice.  Let’s begin some new hunger rumblings of our own!  Amen.

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