If one studies the geopolitical realities of the world, one comes away with an understanding of why some people are hungry and others have plenty. A study of global ecology reveals much about the types of crops that can be grown, the availability of drinkable water, and other facts that relate to the world hunger map. These and other types of studies are indispensable in humanity's understanding of the plight of the hungry. Yet, each of these approaches can leave an individual feeling somewhat distant from the problem. Ecosystems are far too large to be effected by what one person does during a daily routine. Politics is for the powerful, and has little to do with an ordinary person's effect on the world around him/her.
There is one type of inquiry, however, that surely transcends the distance created by the complexity and enormity of the problem of hunger. The more one explores the nature of God and experiences the reality of God, the more one comes to understand the interconnectedness of all of God's children. To know God is to love your neighbor as yourself. That is, to know God is to be in community which transcends geopolitical and ecological perceptions. The unity of this community is as intimate and as ultimate as God's own relationship with us. Thus, when one person is hungry the whole community is afflicted with hunger. When one nation is ravaged by poverty, it is the whole Body that is beaten down.
The words of Christ in Matthew 25:40 are clear on this point. Rendering help to "the least of these" does not make Christ happy with us…it feeds Christ, it gives Christ needed water and shelter. Giving to a hunger fund or collecting cans of soup for a food bank is not an external act of charity; it is personal devotion to Christ. He is in us, and it is He who forms the bonds of community among us.
The Body is suffering from hunger; all God's children must come to the table.
Written by Rev. Steve Sumerel, Church Consultant