Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Lenten Reflections: Holy Agitators

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during Lent, we offer reflections from Bread staff and others who faithfully work to end hunger.

Lectionary readings (from the Revised Common Lectionary):

Psalm 51:1-12
Exodus 30:1-10
Hebrews 4:14—5:4

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit with in me.” (Psalm 51: 10)

The opening verses of this Psalm call us to account for our sins (v. 1-5). We all too often turn from the common good and focus on our ego-driven desires for pleasure and security. Giving into the ubiquitous cultural messages that urge us to focus on our own needs and wants is the great sin of our day.

Especially in the arenas of money and wealth we are tempted to transgress against God’s laws as we are encouraged to find security in the accumulations of our retirement accounts and investment portfolios. Here in the U.S. increasing wealth concentration has been accompanied by an increase in the levels of those living in poverty and a more vulnerable middle class.

This individual and societal sin is not hidden from God (v. 4). We desperately need the mercy and forgiveness of God that the Psalmist is pleading for. I am attracted to how Eugene Peterson interprets this cleansing of v. 7: “Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.” Taking the laundry analogy further I am reminded of how one of my community organizing mentors 40 years ago embraced the title of agitator, because that is the part of the washing machine that gets the dirt out. I see Bread for the World organizers as holy agitators working to rid our world of the “sinful dirt” of hunger.

O how we yearn for a fresh start and repair of our broken spirit. May our hearts be broken open (and not apart) as we encounter the suffering of this world. May God’s presence and God’s generous spirit renew and embolden us to work together to build the grand circle of protection that God intends for all (v. 10-12). Amen.

Mike-troutmanMike Troutman is the Midwest donor relations representative at Bread for the World.


+Read all of our Lent reflections.


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