"Sometime in your life, I hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought it or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even." Daniel Berrigan Author of the book: "Communion"
The priceless little gem of a book, "No Longer a Slumdog", written by K.P. Yohannan, opens with this quote from Berrigan. As I read this opening challenge, so many images flashed before the theater of my mind.
I see a little girl, surrounded by her brothers and sisters, eating a dinner of mayonnaise spread over thin pieces of white bread. Never, ever enough to satisfy the hunger of a growing child...
I see the face of a young mother, crying over her children at bedtime, and then again in the morning, knowing there is no more food to put on the table than there was yesterday.
I see a little girl so thankful for the carton of milk "someone" provided for her at school that morning - the only breakfast she would have.
I see the face of poverty, hunger and desperation stalking a mother and father who could not find a way to feed their starving children.
I see a box overflowing with turkey and all of the trimmings, placed at the front door by someone who was somehow moved enough to dig into his surplus to make a difference for a needy family that Christmas. My child's eyes were enormous with wonder that day. That anyone really cared...
I do not know who placed it there. I only know I should have burst to see the evidence of love from a stranger. I have never forgotten the tender mercy of that person whose name I never knew.
When I read about small children, starving and in desperate need, I feel the pain of their hunger. I see their sunken eyes. I hear their cries. I see their mother's tears. And so does our God. It is for these that He suffered and died and became the Bread of Life. He has promised to satisfy our every need.
As I read this book, describing the pain and tragedy of the lives of these poor families in India, I am reminded that WE are the hands and feet and heart of the Living God. If we shut down our hearts, we shut off the streams of Living Water and Hope that He has promised to "the least of these".
The love of Christ compels us to care and to care deeply. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing a few notes from this compelling book, which is all about "bringing Hope to children in crisis." That is the least I can do for the cause of Christ, on behalf of the children He loves who are suffering unimaginable agonies. We have no excuse any more to not see. The world has become so small. Thank God these children are no longer invisible. The question is - now what do we do about it?
Like the person who dropped off the box on our front door, leaving a message of love and hope behind that I have never forgotten, may we be roused from our complacency enough to make a difference, for at least one child. Whatever you do, "I hope that you might see one starved man (woman or child), and the look on their face when the bread finally arrives..." In the Name of Jesus. In the Name of Jesus. In the precious, all giving Name of Jesus, the Bread of Life...