Word

BY JOHN NUNES

A young girl in the Philippines puts resources from an LWR School Kit to good use. In communities like hers these valuable resources play an important role in planting seeds for future promise!

In Lutheran circles these days, there seems to be an increasing hunger to read and talk about the Word of God. We know we need a regular spiritual intake. Yet, is there a relationship between this renewal in Scripture study and Lutheran World Relief ’s ongoing global efforts to alleviate physical hunger?

Martin Luther would assert, “Yes!” Here’s how he draws the link: “The Word of God always comes first. After it follows faith; after faith, love; then love does every good work, for … it is the fulfilling of the law” (Luther’s Works 36:39).

Feeding on God’s Word means feeding our faith with Jesus Christ as the Son of God (John 20:31). The more we hear God talk to us through the Word, all the more will good works flow through our lives. All the more we will receive strength to serve others. All the more we will reduce the risk of being emotionally overwhelmed by the magnitude of seemingly unsolvable global issues. And all the more we will fulfill God’s will to be doers of justice and lovers of mercy (Micah 6:6–8).

The causes and consequences of an insufficient food supply are complex, spiritually and physically. Hunger reduction, where food supply is limited, isn’t only about providing irrigation systems, agricultural strategies, access to economic markets or advocacy on behalf of people living in poverty. These things do matter, and as we participate in them, we are called to employ the highest in professionalism and excellence.

But looking at the work of international relief and development through the prism of faith opens our eyes to the deeper issues also at stake: penetrating questions related to sustainability and stewardship, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). We may even find ourselves engaging in debates about justice and basic human rights, like the universal right to food and water. These questions find rich theological roots in the opening chapters of Genesis.

The more we dig into the Word of God, the more we discover at least two things related to world hunger: 1) that we are connected to the entire human community where it suffers as sisters and brothers of a common heavenly Father; 2) that we are authorized not just to speak, but to act with power, the Holy Spirit and full conviction.

Now that we are nourished with new life in Jesus’ name, we become God’s answer to the spoken or unspoken prayers, mouthed through tears by children and adults around the world, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Talk is not cheap.

PRAYER

God our Father, deliver us your Spirit through your life-giving Word. Through the grace of the Trinity connect us to all your people and call us to action in your name. In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN.

John Nunes worked as LWR’s President and CEO