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Monday, March 3, 2014

Scripture Reading: Psalm 111 
Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
     in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
     studied by all who delight in them.
Full of honor and majesty is his work,
     and his righteousness endures forever.
He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
     the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
     he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
     in giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
     all his precepts are trustworthy.
They are established forever and ever,
     to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
     he has commanded his covenant forever.
     Holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
     all those who practice it have a good understanding.
     His praise endures forever. (NRSV)  

God feeds us through the gifts of sun, soil, seeds, water, and the efforts of human hands. I learned at a conference on international justice sponsored by the Presbyterian Hunger Program, PCUSA, that if there was a worldwide switch to producing food through sustainable, organic approaches, global food production could increase as much as 50 percent.

Millions of people are hungry, not because of scarcity in food production, but because of the ways food is being produced and distributed. Multinational corporations are controlling much of the food system, utilizing high-tech, industrialized methods that rely on mono-cropping, chemicals, and genetically modified seeds. The cost and dependence on external inputs and cash-cropping has increased. A high percentage of food is being used to feed livestock and produce ethanol. Many farmers cannot feed their own families. The level of suicides among farmers all over the world is alarming. What once was cherished as a free gift of mother earth and the bounty of God has become a commodity in the global market.

All creation belongs to God. We are called to treat food as sacred. What would it look like to honor God regarding food? All people would eat nutritious food, grown in ecologically sustainable ways, enjoyed in gratitude. Agricultural workers would be treated well, with power to vary the crops they plant using seeds that thrive in their own natural setting. Food would be stored and distributed for local consumption. “God gives food to those who honor him.” We need to honor God, rather than systems of profit margin, so that all may eat and be satisfied.

Source of life, make us instruments of your abundant provision for all your people. Guide us to honor you in how we grow, distribute, and eat food so that no one goes hungry. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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