Lenten Meditations: Rediscovering Hope
This year Episcopal Relief & Development’s Provincial Coordinators are sharing their reflections on select devotionals from the 2013 Lenten Meditations booklet. In this blog Kim Rossi looks at the Lenten meditation from Tuesday, March 5, 2013, page 28. Below is the scripture being referenced and to the right you can click the image to download and view the whole meditation.
Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” The disciples replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.”
— Matthew 14:16
I live in a very small village of about 4,000 people, all of whom are being affected by the financial crisis in our country. Many have lost their jobs and are struggling to find new ones. To help feed their families, our local food bank has become a frequent stopping place for families in need, as well as for many of our seniors. This has been a topic of discussion at church during our coffee hours.
Every year during the season of Advent, we put up an Advent Tree of Hope and hang envelopes as ornaments with items from the Episcopal Relief & Development Gifts for Life Catalog. While this is usually met with excitement, this year I heard a few groans from those adults who were struggling financially. Like the disciples in Mathew 14:16, they felt they had nothing, or not enough. I noticed that they took their time approaching the Tree of Hope to select something for their Advent Offering.
This was not the case for the children. The youngest in our church school program decided that they wanted to do something to help feed children in the world. So, together with their Church School Teacher they prayed. Following their prayer, they walked to the Advent Tree of Hope with confidence and chose an envelope: Nurture & Nourish the Earliest of Learners. This gift provides nutrition education and healthy snacks for children and their parents or guardians, giving them the foundation for a better future.
Their gift required them to raise $15.00 for one child and since it was Christmas they decided to make tree ornaments and sell them to parishioners. The children had purchased a variety of clear ornaments and stuffed them with tinsel and pasted crosses and other foam items on the outside. Their beauty came in the joy the children put into making them.
Through word of mouth, the project spread to our local Sheriff’s Department. The deputies were impressed with their efforts and made purchases. Later, as I delivered the Christmas ornaments I was surprised to see tears in their eyes. They said that these were the most beautiful ornaments they had seen, because they were made with the hands of our children. One commented that we truly have hope if we are raising children like this! These children, in their innocence, brought more than food to other children in the world, they fed a community with hope during a difficult time. During this season of Lent, may we all look for ways to feed those who struggle in the world, not just with food but with hope.
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Kim Rossi is an Episcopal Relief & Development Coordinator for Western New York & Province II.