Tag Archives: malnourished

“And flesh and blood so cheap!”

 

Happier were those pierced by the sword than those pierced by hunger, whose life drains away, deprived of the produce of the field. – Lamentations 4:9

The words of the Prophet Jeremiah echo loudly today as we witness the brutality and senseless violence in South Sudan. The echoes can be heard in the headlines as the world’s leading relief providers have already started warning of an even uglier tragedy beginning to unfold in that young and reeling nation.

Famine is coming to South Sudan. Unless immediate response is mounted we are being told to expect the starvation, not of dozens of children, not of  hundreds of children, not of thousands of children, but to prepare for the unnecessary death of tens of thousands of innocent South Sudanese children.  These are the children who will  starve to death within the next six months, pierced by hunger, unless we act to prevent it.

Already malnourished and weakened, these children cannot survive the agony of their life draining away as it will during the hunger season. Once the rains begin the hope of these children, the life of these children, will wash away.

I am reminded of the words of Thomas Hood, the 18th century English poet. In The Song of the Shirt he wrote:

“Oh, God! That bread should be so dear!
And flesh and blood so cheap!”

at the feet of the Church

We live in a world blessed by a loving Creator, a world well able to supply all the needs of the human family. That any should lack daily bread is nothing less than sinful. Every malnourished child in our world bears eloquent testimony to the complete lack of Christian values held by our society. I lay this at the feet of the Church.

Why? We have failed to give ourselves on behalf of the poor and hungry, We have failed in our basic purpose of testifying to the Kingdom. We have failed to care.

To be honest (always difficult in the Church), we have actually served to legitimize world views, political and economic systems diametrically opposed to the central message of the Gospel. The Church has closely identified with worldly and cultural power and then has consistently rationalized our position. Our fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been completely overshadowed by our desire to be respectable and to fit into society.  Every time a child cries from hunger is a witness to the Church’s lack of faithfulness.

Ending hunger in our world requires leadership. No other organization should be in a better position to provide that leadership than the Church. But until we regain a desire to provide true “good news” for the poor and hungry this will never happen. We have to again come to the place where we understand our role in transforming society.

And even though that is exactly what the Gospel calls us to do, at the moment the Church is far too comfortable to attempt it. We are at peace with the present world systems that hold two-thirds of our family hostage to hunger.  We continue to take our ease and hide behind our stained glass while 25,000 die every day from hunger.  We are far too enamored with the “good life” to care.

We identify with the rich, the powerful, the elite. They are our heroes and role models. We don’t have time for the oppressed, the outcasts, the refugees, the poor, the hungry. Until that changes the Church will continue to wither, totally deserving the lack of respect and interest it receives.  Until that changes we will never end hunger. We will never achieve justice. And there will never be peace in the world.