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In less than a week and a half the Church in Society Committee will lead an effort to do justice on behalf of hungry people around the world. The committee invites you to participate in an Offering of Letters (OL) with the anti-hunger organization Bread for the World. After worship on Sunday, May 7, and again on Wednesday, May 10, at 7 pm, we will gather to learn more about the US Farm Bill and its impact on hunger and food insecurity in our country and internationally. We will leave time at the end of the session for anyone who wishes to write a letter to their elected officials asking them to help make a difference for poor and hungry people.

I have already written about the OL and the Farm Bill twice for this blog, so I will not go over ground today that I have already covered. Today I simply want to remind you about these opportunities for involvement and talk a little bit about the concept of justice advocacy in the church. (I had originally planned to go into the elements of the OL “ask” in more depth, but I have decided to leave that for the information sessions on the 7th and 10th.)

You can advocate for a person or for a cause. To advocate for a cause is to lift your voice and take some kind of action. To advocate for a person is to stand alongside somebody who has less power or “standing” than you and speak and act with them and on their behalf. The OL gives us the opportunity to do both, and to do it in the name of God. We speak out against hunger, but we never do so in the abstract. We must always remember that behind the statistics are real people, many of them children, who regularly miss meals and go to bed with their stomachs rumbling far too often. Hungry people are children of God just as we are, and we need to treat them with the dignity and respect that we expect for ourselves.

The Bible is chock-full of laws and parables and sermons and prophecies calling on us to feed hungry people. Many of us do that by serving at the food pantry or making a donation to God’s Precious Children, and I commend anybody who takes those actions. But there is more to it than that. The prophets, the Torah, and Jesus also call on us to modify the structures of society that perpetuate hunger. That’s what doing justice means—using the knowledge and power we have at our disposal to make fundamental changes so that food banks and soup kitchens and the like can go out of business permanently.

God has chosen to work through us—we are the body of Christ, after all—to accomplish God’s will for the world. To realize God’s dream. And I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I suggest that God’s dream for the world does not include hunger and food insecurity. When an opportunity to contribute to the justice quotient in the world presents itself, we need to be at the ready. I hope you will join the Church in Society committee in getting educated about the Farm Bill and then writing a letter that might help put an end to hunger once and for all.

Grace and peace,