Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, March 17, 2024

By Suzanne Matheny

Bread for Life, Bread of Life

Read: 1 John 3:17-18 (NRSV)

“How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”

I grew up next door to my beloved grandfather, enjoying the bounty from his vegetable gardens, fruit trees and chickens. Our meals were satisfying and are a favorite today. Gratefully, I have never known hunger. However, our world is in a global crisis with 828 million people (10% of world population) going to bed hungry, accompanied by death rates exceeding those from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Fortunately, there are programs, such as United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) or Feeding America, to address these issues.* Yet as I reflect, my wealth of food juxtaposed to this reality is sobering. How can I help?

God commands us to feed the hungry. Jesus demonstrated that when he fed the hungry crowd (miracle of 5 loaves and 2 fishes). Subsequently, Jesus included spiritual sustenance. (“I am the Bread of Life.”) Centuries later, Ghandi said, “There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of food.” How best, then, do I/we deliver God’s love in the form of life-sustaining food that also opens the door to the light of the Bread of Life?


Merciful God, we are blessed with well-stocked grocery stores and meals set before us. As we receive this nourishment, deepen our awareness and compassion for those who suffer from hunger. Increase our understanding of the circumstances. Use our minds and bodies to work for remedies where we can. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

*UMCOR: https://umcmission.org/advance-project/982920/

*Feeding America: https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america

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