This is a time of great liberation
A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to listen in on a panel discussion about hunger. The event took place at First United Methodist Church in Pasadena. David Beckmann, Bread’s president, started the evening with his thoughts on how God is moving in our time to end hunger. He was followed by a discussion with prominent faith and justice leaders in the Los Angeles Area. Panelists included: Vanessa Martinez, CLUE Orange County and Micah Challenge; Sarah Nolan, Abundant Table Farm Project and South Central Farmers’ Cooperative; Rev. Pat O’Reilly from the Ecumenical Council of Pasadena Area Churches and Jeremy Seifert, the producer of the film DIVE!
This was an awesome opportunity to hear a wide range of voices on hunger in America. Despite these varied points of view there are some things that have really stuck with me and I think are important to share.
1. This is a time of great liberation. As I mentioned before, David Beckman started the panel by impressing upon us that God is working in our time. That we are living in a time where we can witness freedom from hunger and poverty in the world. I find such hope in this. The state of hunger in the world is bleak at times and it seems like there will never be change. But take heart, because God is working. These are issues that He cares deeply about and He is creating a path for liberation. God is working and we just have to join with God to end hunger.
2. We need to reorder relationships. This was a point that came up multiple times throughout the discussion. We live in a world full of chaos and confusion. Relationships to others and to the world are distorted. We see other people not as partners or equals but rather as objects. There is a lack of concern towards others and the earth. Hunger is not just about access to food but access to good food. Our relationship to creation has been distorted by the ways we produce and consume our food. Large corporations abuse the land and their workers and hurt smaller farmers. In order to end hunger we need to start viewing others like they are a part of our own family. We need to start caring for the earth and about the way we produce food. We need to encourage greater access and make sure everyone is getting what they need.
3. There needs to be a revolution of the heart. This last point I want to highlight touches not only on hunger but on the many issues we face. Ending hunger or poverty or war is going to happen through policy or politics alone. We need to start caring. Our hearts will naturally care only for ourselves. We have very private interests and concerns. In order to break down the problems of the world we need to open our hearts. We need to start caring for everyone and take action even when the outcome won’t always help us. Without this kind of love and dedication to others no amount of petitioning or lobbying is going to help. Having a deep love for others and for God is what change is predicated upon.
Finally, I want to challenge everyone who reads this to think about what their hearts find important and worthy. Is it all about you and your gain? Is there room for others? If you feel like joining this revolution of the heart I want to encourage you to take action. Turn that love into change.
Write a letter or call congress. Get educated on the issues. Pray about the change you want to see. I fully believe what David Beckman said when he told us that we are living in a time of great liberation. I have faith that God is working and that if we join together we’ll all see the benefits of freedom.
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