Meditation for Deacon Meeting February 2017
Based on the Book Bread of Tomorrow, Prayers for the Church Year Edited by Janet Morley
In the introduction to the book titled, Bread of Tomorrow, which actually is a collection of prayers meant to be read year round, the editor, Janet Morley, challenges the reader to grow in faith and understanding of how the poor are perceived and why those in need should be helped.
She hopes the prayers will inspire those that are “unpoor” to respond to the poor out of a feeling of solidarity instead of out of gratitude that they are not so afflicted. After all, it is not our moral superiority or our faith that protects us from disease, loss of employment or natural disasters etc. It usually is just happenstance that separates us from a similar fate to those we offer our generosity to. Acts of charity done out of pity miss an important aspect of what God intends for us to accomplish when helping others.
In the Lord’s Prayer we say we want things “ to be done on earth as they are in heaven” and if we believe God has created us all in his image, it follows that He wants us all to be well fed, secure and happy. When life presents challenges to some of God’s children, it should be an issue for us all. For example, we shouldn’t think that “they” have a problem with drought causing hunger but “we” have a problem. When drought leaves some of us hungry, we are all responsible for addressing the issue.
Responding in solidarity with someone’s plight is different than giving things away to the poor from our excess and then feeling the task is complete because we are nice and willing to share our wealth with strangers. As Christians, we need to recognize our responsibility for assisting our brothers and sisters in need, to help problem solve issues working with those afflicted and be willing to get involved in a deeper more personal level. Sharing in the struggles and hopes of those in need makes it a personal endeavor where human interaction can foster the growth of life enriching relationships. It’s important to understand that those in need have gifts to share with us as well.
Our ministry to others should always incorporate prayer. We need God’s guidance as we strive to live in this world together as God’s beloved people. The editor, Janet Morley wrote; “Prayer leaves space for God to reach us, and by praying we place ourselves, with all our sisters and brothers, within the hands of God.”
Prayer :Father in Heaven help us grow in our way of thinking about helping others in need so we are responding in solidarity and not out of pity. All of our blessings come from you and we need your guidance as we strive to minister to others. Open our eyes to the possibility of being on the receiving end when we reach out to help the needy. Help us to love and serve others the way you love us. Amen