Many no longer think of food as a basic necessity, but as calorie-laden art forms promising joyful, even luxurious, experiences. Food has become a celebration, drawing people together to make a memory. Casseroles say, “I’m sorry for your loss.” Cakes tell someone, “Happy Birthday.” Preparing someone’s favorite meal communicates, “I love you.” On a mission trip in the jungles of Peru, villagers invited our group to eat with them, though this meal was a significant sacrifice for them. The freshly cooked chicken and rice said, “You are welcome here.” Even Christ used food to teach lessons we remember today: “I am the bread of life,” and “Do this in remembrance of me.”
The psalmist praises God, who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry (v. 7). Hunger is more than a vague fear for many people; it is either a present reality or a looming one that threatens to strike soon. According to the UN, 2020 will be a year for famine in sub-Saharan Africa. Yemen has been in the midst of a civil war since 2015, leaving nearly 80% of the population displaced and food scarce.
And even in many US towns, including my own, school children would face the prospect of going home hungry if not for organizations that provide weekend backpacks of non-perishable food. With a strong voice, the psalmist sings the truth that God is at work on behalf of those in need of justice. God is working through people who serve all over the world, and through those who minister close to home. Consider how God may work through you to feed others.
Who are the hungry in your life? What will you do to help?
Jesus Christ, Bread of Life, as we remember you when we break bread at church and at home, help us remember and serve those who hunger. Amen.