Does it seem like each morning’s news brings a report about another global disaster? In my darkest “oh-no-not-another one” moments, I just want to turn the TV off, push the paper away, and set my internet news pop-ups to “entertainment only.”
But I can’t totally disengage. Even if I really wanted to, my colleagues and our ELCA doesn’t let me. News clippings sent inter-office, phone calls from pastors, gifts sent in by children with prayerful notes… all bring me back to the reality of our broken world.
Of course, there’s another reality as well, and that’s the promise of God’s abundance. I’m reminded of this as I read budget reports detailing spending plans for the overwhelming generosity we received last year for ELCA World Hunger Appeal. My World Hunger/Global Mission colleagues had made spending plans based on a modest increase in giving, but certainly didn’t know that an additional $2.5 million would arrive at the very end of the year! What amazing generosity sent on behalf of our neighbors- near and far- who live with hunger and poverty!
Many of these “surplus” plans focus on our response to the global food crisis, one of those awful ongoing disasters we hear about so frequently (read more and give here). Our gifts to ELCA World Hunger help alleviate this crisis through a two-pronged approach. First, we are providing funds to our partners for emergency food and other relief efforts. But even more importantly, we have made a concerted effort to invest in long-term sustainable development that will help our partners help communities better withstand the ups and downs of the food market. For example, because of the generous giving to the World Hunger Appeal last year, we were recently able to make a special gift to the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church to provide tools, supplies and irrigation for a community to grow nutritious produce for their use and for market. In the long-term, this will have a far greater impact that food relief alone, and we are grateful to be able to make this special gift possible through our companion church.
So, on the next bad news day, when I just want to pull the metaphorical (and literal) covers over my head… I’ll remember that God truly is at work in our world. God’s work. Our Hands. Thanks be to God!