Help Wanted: Fire-breathing communicators

Washington National Cathedral. Photo courtesy of Maura Collins.

By Stephen H. Padre

Kindle in us the Spirit of your love, O Lord.
Enter our minds and think through them.
Enter our mouths and speak through them.
Enter our souls and set them on fire. Amen.

The Church celebrated Pentecost yesterday, the day the Holy Spirit was sent to the followers of Jesus. God the Spirit came in the form of a flame to each person directly and personally empowered each for service in the world.

The story of Pentecost, as told in Acts 2:1-21, describes the crowd gathered that day as being made up of people from all over the known world at that time—“Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs…” (2:9-11). Those present were amazed to hear people speaking in foreign languages and that they were able to understand each other.

This was the central part of the story, even though it was both strange and wondrous. It’s a story of communication—everyday people from all walks of life speaking and being understood.

At Bread for the World, we’re all about communication too—communicating a message to Congress. That message is that we want the federal government to step up and do its part to end hunger in the U.S. and around the world with the resources and authority it has. Bread is a means for the Church—for Christians who are everyday people from all walks of life—to speak up and be heard. We help you with the language to speak to your elected representatives, and you use your own voice to speak to them—your faith, your passion, your own stories of witnessing hunger, your own vision of a world where no one lacks for food.

Bread’s mission statement describes the organization as “a collective Christian voice.” Even though we all speak English and are all citizens or residents of the U.S., we communicate in our common language of Christian faith to Congress. We are Alaskans, Minnesotans, and residents of Colorado, New England, and the South. Sometimes we host visitors who come to visit their members of Congress in person from California, New York, and parts of Texas belonging to conservative areas. And we are African-American, Latinos, white, young, old, and high- and low-income. All of us, together, speak the same “language”—that Congress can lead the U.S. government in ending hunger. And we believe hunger should end because of our faith, because of the grace of God through Jesus, and for the sake of a world in need.

Have you been filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you speaking our language? Do you want to communicate this message to Congress too? Join us! The Spirit is burning within us, and we would love to share with you the flame of passion to end hunger in the world. Speak up with us, not because we want a bigger, more diverse crowd and a louder voice, but because the world, broken and hurting from hunger, needs us.

Learn more about the 2016 Offering of Letters: Survive and Thrive, and make sure to participate in a letter-writing event.

Stephen H. Padre is the managing editor at Bread for the World.

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