God’s Work, Our Voices
“If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday,” Isaiah 58:10 (NRSV).
As the bright, busy holiday season gets underway, Advent arrives, inviting us to a quieter place. During the sacred weeks of candlelight and contemplative music, hope, prophecy, and joy are in the air. We read Isaiah now. We also revisit the Magnificat to hear Mary sing that her soul magnifies the Lord and her spirit rejoices in God. At mid-song, she proclaims, “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty,” Luke 1:52-53 (NRSV).
During Advent, All Saints people serve as God’s hands to fill the hungry with good things. We give gift cards so low-wage families can buy groceries for the holiday. At other times, we cook for people in Family Promise. We fill backpacks for schoolchildren so they and their families can eat on the weekends. We take meals to asylum seekers who pass through our city en route to their sponsors. We volunteer at Roadrunner Foodbank. Also, there are inspiring individual acts. One member makes land and water available to the Indigenous Farm Hub to help feed the community. Another member stocks her car with food and sleeping bags for people who are unhoused. How many other ways do we respond to hunger? Too many to list.
Filling the hungry with good things can take us in a second direction–to the New Mexico Legislature this January to speak up for justice. To help us prepare, Sherry Hooper of the Food Depot in Santa Fe brought her prophetic voice to the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry Conference this fall. She spoke about a task that her mayor gave the Food Depot: to draw up a plan to end childhood hunger in Santa Fe in a year. She described her reaction. As the head of a food bank, she knew how to end a child’s hunger for a day. But to end a child’s hunger for life? In that case, we must end poverty, she said. She and her colleagues prepared a report addressing living wages, affordable housing and childcare, and other remedies for hunger. It is exciting.
Sherry Hooper and Kurt Rager will be among the advocates in the Roundhouse in 2023 who work to end poverty. If you’d like to receive Kurt’s legislative updates and get involved, please sign up at Alleviating Poverty and Hunger (lutheranadvocacynm.org). To read the Food Depot’s practical plan to end hunger, go to The Food Depot – Northern New Mexico’s Food Bank.