(Isaiah 58:2-12; Luke 18:1-8)
Today is World Food Sunday – a day to learn about, pray about, and take action on issues of hunger in our community and in our world. I want to begin today by showing you the first half of a video from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a partner with whom we work as the United Church of Canada. Some of our Mission and Service dollars go towards these projects, in addition to donations from groups and individuals within the congregation. Here we go!
(13 minutes of video “Facing Hunger” from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank)
(Synopsis: visits the Asmus family who farm in Saskatchewan and harvest grain for the CFGB, and farmers in Tanzania, the Kitomary family, who benefit from the training in sustainable farming – which they call “farming God’s way”- offered by the CFGB. The DVD is available for loan, and shorter videos can be viewed online)
We heard from the prophet Isaiah how important it is to God that we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for those in need, and shelter the homeless. The CFGB is one way we do that here at Gordon United. We also support the meals offered at Our Place downtown, the Goldstream Food Bank here in Langford, and our own Community Dinner here at Gordon through dollars and through volunteer hours. As you’ll see in the bulletin, our folk and West Village Church fed about 150 people on Thanksgiving Monday – more than anyone expected, yet somehow, like the loaves and fishes, the food was stretched to feed everyone! We have folk who also volunteer and cook for the Rainbow Kitchen at Esquimalt United Church.
Some would probably question why we do what we do. After all, the need doesn’t ever seem to go away. There are always starving people somewhere in the world, and the demand on food banks and meal programs never seems to diminish – it always seems to increase. So on the grand scale of things, it might seem like nothing’s changed. But all we have to do is see the smile on the face of a woman who has had a cup of fresh coffee brought right to her table, the joy, self-respect and dignity brought to farmers who are able to feed their own families, the relief in the eyes of someone who can pay their hydro bill because they saved some money on groceries, to know we are making a difference. We don’t stop trying because it’s hard. We keep trying, because we know it’s right.
Like the widow confronting the unjust judge, we continue to not only feed the hungry but to point to the ways our society and our world need to change in order to reduce hunger and poverty. We persist in the pursuit of justice, of a fair wage and a decent living for all, of sustainable farming and responsible business practices, of living simpler lives so that others can simply live. The Canadian Foodgrains Bank invites us to write letters to our MPs asking that the Canadian Government make a new commitment to support adaptation to climate change in developing countries – that’s one place to start. Another is getting involved with our local Faith in Action group who work on issues of homelessness and poverty. There are many organizations in Victoria and several in the Westshore in need of both monetary and volunteer support. Perhaps you might think about getting involved with one. I’ll be putting some contact information at the bottom of the sermon copy for those of you who want to learn more.
I invite you to turn now in your More Voices books and share in singing a short chorus with me. It’s #193. It’s a grace –a blessing for the food we share – but it’s also a prayer for justice. I’ll get Tim to play it once, then have the choir join in, then we’ll sing it together.
(Sing, “God Bless to Us Our Bread)
The good news is and always has been that God is a God of justice, and that when we cooperate in God’s healing work, what we are able to accomplish multiplies like the loaves and fishes of Jesus’ famous miracle, for God hears the cries of the faithful, as we plead for and work for and long for the hungry to be filled. “God Bless to us our bread, and give food to all those who are hungry, and hunger for justice to those who are fed. “ Amen.
Members of Parliament:
Randall Garrison (Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca) Telephone: 250-405-6550; 613-996-2625; Randall.Garrison@parl.gc.ca; randallgarrison.ndp.ca ; A2 – 100 Aldersmith Place, Victoria, British Columbia, V9A 7M8
Murray Rankin (Victoria) 250-363-3600; 613-996-2358, Murray.Rankin@parl.gc.ca; 1057 Fort Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8V 3K5
Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands) : 1-800-667-9188 ; 613-996-1119; Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca; 9711 Fourth Street, Suite 1, Sidney, British Columbia, V8L 2Y8
All MPs can also be contacted c/o House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6
Faith in Action – http://www.victoriafaithinaction.ca/index.php?index=who
Or find them on Facebook at Faith in Action BC
Faith In Action c/o St. John the Divine Anglican Church, 1611 Quadra Street, Victoria
British Columbia, Canada V8W 2L5. (250) 383-7169; firstname.lastname@example.org