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By Rev. Beth Bostrom
The yearly cycle of Holy Week reminds me of the deep rhythms of our own lives. As we move solemnly from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday to Good Friday and into a silent Saturday, we recall our own times of celebration, righteous anger, community, desperate prayer, exhaustion, betrayal, death and grief, and so much waiting.
The empty tomb of Easter morning comes to us much as it did to the women who were ready to serve in the midst of their grief—as a bewildering hope we cannot fully understand. Easter reminds us not just of God’s power to transform individual lives, but also God’s power to transform our world.
As we greet Easter this year, we are desperately hoping for new life to emerge. This has been a rough 15 months. Our entire worldview has adapted, our interactions with others have been drastically affected, and most of us know someone personally affected by Covid-19.
We collectively hold the weight of deep grief for all we have lost. An unimaginable number of people beloved to us and to God have been lost to this virus. Many, many more people are suffering the effects of the shutdowns, shortages, and unemployment. Hunger has skyrocketed in the United States and globally. At the nonprofit where I serve, we saw triple the usual requests for food and financial assistance in 2020. Many of the people seeking assistance told stories of the food pantries where they usually volunteer. We have had to let go of more than we can name.
We hold the weight of these losses in one hand, even as we reach toward the possibilities with the other. Our hearts are torn. And we see the beauty of connection and community, new life and possibility. Lament and hope sit side by side. This is a powerful Easter moment.
Vaccinations against the Covid-19 virus have increased dramatically in some countries, yet many developing nations are still waiting for vaccines to arrive. In recent months, we have seen increased support for people who are struggling in the United States. The American Rescue Plan Act extended unemployment benefits, domestic food aid through P-EBT and WIC, housing assistance, and tax credits to alleviate financial burdens for families. Congress has begun considering Childhood Nutrition Reauthorization, as well as potential increases to global nutrition support.
We live in the hope of possibility. Together, it is possible to alleviate the suffering that has increased during the pandemic. We still have the ability to end hunger globally by 2030. God is calling us to consider again what it means to be faithful, to be loving neighbors, to act justly and love mercy.
As we move into this Easter season, may we look continually for the hope. May we name the possibilities, even as we seek to serve amid our grief. May we call our leaders to see and seek those possibilities, to serve their people, and to stand in solidarity with their neighbors who hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Rev. Beth Bostrom is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. She is the director of spiritual formation at Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa, Florida.
Together, it is possible to alleviate the suffering that has increased during the pandemic.
Afghanistan would be considered likely to have high rates of hunger because at least two of the major causes of global hunger affect it—armed conflict and fragile governmental institutions.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5. Every year, the world loses hundreds of thousands of young children and babies to hunger-related causes.
Bread for the World is calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to build a better 1,000-Days infrastructure in the United States.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
The Bible on...
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to respond to changes in need, making it well suited to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.