BY DAN RUTH
A child drinks from a bowl in the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya. In 2011, hundreds of thousands of people fled to Dadaab — mostly from Somalia — to escape famine and drought. LWR and partner Lutheran World Federation worked in the camps to connect vulnerable refugees to vital services.
He said to me, Mortal, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey. (Ezekiel 3:3).
Food is one of the most prominent metaphors throughout the Bible. Harvest, manna, honey, wine and wedding banquets: these things paint pictures throughout scripture of God’s blessings. They are images that sustain the life of God’s people and bring God’s people together into abundant celebration of that life.
“You are what you eat” and eating is such an important piece of life that there’s almost no more powerful metaphor in scripture. Ezekiel isn’t just given a scroll to read, he is told to eat that word, to chew it, taste it and ingest it, so that God’s word literally becomes part of him. Ezekiel does not become a prophet who merely speaks God’s word; Ezekiel is sustained by God’s word, and it is sweet as honey.
In other parts of Scripture, God’s word isn’t food, it’s the other way around: food is God’s Word. We repeat Jesus’ words in worship and we consume that Word:
“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
The people with whom Lutheran World Relief works don’t always have the food they need to sustain themselves or their families. Many people can’t grow enough food on their own land; others don’t even have the land they’d need to grow something; and still other people are surrounded by enough food, but for political or economic reasons can’t access it. By helping people around the world access sustaining food, we both respond to and participate in God’s word. God’s promise to us is everlasting, sustaining life. May that promise fill our bodies, energizing and nourishing us to give thanks and to work to ensure that all people, in all places, are well fed.
God of abundance, you give of yourself in the bread and wine that feeds us. Send us out in the world to share abundantly with those who have only known scarcity. In the name of Jesus, AMEN.
Dan Ruth is LWR’s Interactive Marketing Manager