Striving to have eyes that see

My September 29th sermon was, at heart, an attempt to humanize people who receive SNAP benefits – people who are all too often demonized, blamed for needing help, called names like “lazy” or “grifters.” I was trying to demonstrate that the people who receive SNAP benefits are simply that: people. It just happens they are people who need a little help.

My sermon was an attempt to help us learn from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. That is, it was an attempt to help us see the poor and hungry people who are on our doorstep. Something the rich man in the parable was unable to do until it was too late – for both men.

So I offered a bunch of statistics hoping to demonstrate that SNAP recipients could be any of us. SNAP recipients are white, black, and hispanic. Urban, suburban, and rural. Children, adults, and elderly. Married with children, single adults, and single parents. SNAP recipients work at all kinds of jobs, including our military.

However, after worship one member said better in two sentences what I spent twenty minutes trying to get across.

“Pastor, I wanted to stand up in the middle of your sermon and say, ‘It’s me! You’re talking about me! I’m working five jobs and still need help feeding my kids.'”

Yes, I talk and write and preach and post about hunger and poverty – a lot. I do so because both the biblical witness and United Methodist tradition convince me that is the best way to live the faith of Jesus Christ in the world.

But I also do so because experiences like this one on Sunday convince me again and again that in Christ there is no “them”, no “other.” There is only “us.” And we’re all on this journey of faith together. We all need each other. What affects one, affects us all.

That’s not a bug, it is a feature. Thanks be to God for that!

The power of 1000 days

The church.


Followers of God in the Way of Jesus.

Living the life of faith.

Being the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus in the world.

If you’ve spent any time around me (or, you know, this blog or my other blog or my twitter feed or my facebook timeline), I would hope it is clear that I believe those are five ways of saying the same thing. More importantly, I hope it comes through that I strive to live that belief.

And yet sometimes I know I need to step back and let other voices be heard. Today seems like one of those days. (Of course, I’m preaching this Sunday so my voice isn’t exactly being muffled.) We’ve talked a lot in church and online about hunger, about poverty, about food assistance for those in need. And with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus as this week’s text, we’re going to talk more about them Sunday.

But for today, I hope you’ll take just one minute and fifty seconds of your day to watch the video below. Fighting hunger matters. Providing nutrition – especially for women and children – makes a real difference in the world. I know that’s a corny, overused phrase. I don’t care. I’m saying it anyway. Watch the video and I bet you will too.

Watched the video and want to read more? Here you go.

Watched the video and want some good, original music that supports this effort? Here you go.

Be the hands, feet and voice of Jesus. Share this voice.