Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
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Resurrection and Restoration

March 24, 2014

The end of Lent and Holy Week usher in the spring season of rebirth in nature around us. Many of us have trudged through harsh winter weather, but now we see glimpses of new buds on trees and the tips of leaves poking through the cold ground. In light of Christ’s resurrection, the budding flowers of spring remind us of a similar budding within us to be agents of transformation and restoration in a suffering world. »

Looking to Lent

February 20, 2014

In March, we round out the season of Epiphany with Transfiguration Sunday, which grounds Jesus in the long tradition of Moses and the Elijah, who represent the law and the prophets. From there, we turn our attention inward, asking the questions Who are we? and Whose are we? Many of our churches' members will give up sweets or caffeine during this season. Or perhaps they will add some kind of healthy habit to their daily routine. Our challenge is to help them dig deeper to recognize our corporate identity inaugurated in the "new Adam," to remember that God often favors the outsider and the excluded, and to take risks on the road to justice. »

The 'Why' and 'How' of Justice Work

January 24, 2014

In this season of new year's resolutions and new starts, we celebrate that Congress just last week passed a budget without shuttering the government. Perhaps we are seeing small cracks in the walls that divide us politically. Our pleas and prayers for an end to the political brinkmanship are making a difference.

The lectionary passages for this month address the Why? and the How? of doing justice work. The texts urge us toward justice and righteousness, not only in our personal devotions, but also in our public lives. In some instances, we will challenge our communities to ground their justice work in a devotional life. And in other cases, we will challenge our communities to extend their personal devotions into the world to act for justice.

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The "So What?" Of Christmas

December 26, 2013

No doubt you are up to your neck in Christmas preparations, so you may not be ready for January lectionary commentaries, but here they are anyway. Tuck this email away while you deal with the shepherds and angels, but remember that your January preaching provides the "So what?" follow-up to the Christmas message. »

Praying with Pope Francis

November 26, 2013

On the third Sunday of Advent (Dec. 15), the Gospel lesson is Mary's song of praise to the God who "has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty." My Advent prayer is that our nation's policies will reflect the same priorities and that Congress will not be voting that week to further cut food stamp benefits for families struggling to feed their children. Pope Francis will be issuing a call for the whole world to pray on the preceding Tuesday, Dec. 10, for an end to hunger. He is asking people to pray at noon local time in what will become a global "wave of prayer" across time zones. I hope you will encourage your members to join Pope Francis in this prayer (see the text of the prayer below). Please put the date on your calendar now. (Some churches are planning to include prayers related to the pope's Dec. 10 day of prayer in their services on the preceding Sunday, Dec. 8.) As the day approaches, you will find prayer resources from various Christian traditions at www.bread.org. »

Weeping Over Washington

September 24, 2013

Last Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a bill cutting nearly $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.) The annual cut they approved is equal in size to all of the food assistance of voluntary food efforts – all of the church food pantries, all of the food banks, all of the food drives by postal workers and Boy Scouts, all of the food donated by stores and manufacturers – combined. That day, as I looked out my window at the Capitol, I couldn’t help but weep. When I looked in the other direction, toward the Washington Navy Yard, the tears continued to flow. »

Realizing the Dream

August 27, 2013

A few blocks down the street from Bread for the World’s Washington, D.C., offices, thousands of people crowd the National Mall, marking the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. On Wednesday, they will join Americans across the country in commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. There will be some celebration of what has changed in 50 years, but the people on the Mall are keenly aware that the Trayvon Martin verdict, the curtailment of the Voting Rights Act, and the mass incarceration of people of color are all signs that the dream is far from being realized. »

Just a Little Bit Kinder

August 1, 2013

My colleagues tell me that a recent study concludes that those who meditate regularly tend to be a little kinder and a little more attentive to those in need. I'm hoping members of Congress will find time for regular meditation during their August recess. Perhaps some of them will also benefit from a few good sermons while back in their home districts. »

Persistance, Solidarity, and Hope

June 27, 2013

Two weeks ago, Bread for the World members gathered in Washington, D.C., to pray and advocate for a farm bill that protects hungry people from deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). We knew that this would require the defeat of the bill then being debated in the House of Representatives, so we asked for that in our prayers and our advocacy. Thanks be to God, last week, the bill was defeated. Representatives had a variety of reasons for voting against it, but no matter the reason, the result was good news for hungry people. Running through the July lectionary reading are themes of persistence and solidarity as we pursue and pray for the coming reign of God. The journey is long, but we walk it together, and God is faithful. Even small victories, like the defeat of a damaging bill, are signs of hope. »

Embracing God's Expansive Love

May 28, 2013

June’s lectionary readings are filled with stories that recount powerful and miraculous acts. Often, however, a significant aspect of the story is the radical nature of who was included in the miracles: not just the starving widow, but also a man possessed by demons and a despised foreigner. While our own beneficence tends to have limits, God’s doesn’t. On Capitol Hill, we see efforts to limit access to programs to the “deserving” poor, reduce funding for services available to those who struggle with their own demons, and narrowly define who is worthy of living in our country. Some members of Congress use scripture to bolster their arguments for restricting eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). Join us in praying for a miracle that moves our nation closer to embracing God’s gracious and expansive love for all people. »

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