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Editor’s note: This Lent season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals written by staff, alumni, and friends of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A).
By Rev. David Ezekiel
God Grew Tired of Us is a fascinating documentary that traces the perilous journey of John Bul Dau, Daniel Pach, and Panther Bior, three of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan. John’s boyhood was spent tending his family’s cattle, but the Sudanese civil war of the 1980s destroyed his village, killed many of the adults, and forced the rest to become refugees. Thousands of mostly teenagers from the Dinka and Nuer tribes embarked upon a 5-year, thousand-mile odyssey of escape. During the course of their grueling ordeal, 10,000 or more died or were kidnapped.
About 8,000 finally reached the safety of a settlement compound in Kenya. The Clinton administration was petitioned to accept the refugees on compassionate grounds whereupon the US agreed to receive 3,600, which included John, Daniel, and Panther. Upon arrival in the US, these three set about assisting their adopted, extended family left behind in Kenya. John, in particular, has been raising and sending funds back to the Sudan to build a clinic so that persons would have access to medical care.
To John and others in Dinka culture, family and the care of neighbors is central. He told an interviewer that “if somebody got sick in the village, twelve or eighteen guys would carry them to the hospital 75 miles away. Half would lock arms and carry the person, then they would rotate, so they could always keep running.”[i] What an image: persons linked arm-in-arm carrying “a sick villager to the hospital, taking turns carrying so the urgent pace could be maintained and the patient brought to the place of healing, healing that began with the love and compassion and concern of the community.”[ii] Despite the adversity and the obstacles, John and the others are still carrying one another to a place of healing.
Linger upon that imagery in your mind and heart. Take a few moments to remember a time in which you experienced adversity or brokenness. Now ask, “When I needed help, what community carried me in love to a place of healing?” ake a moment to give thanks for that community of concern.
Return to that image of persons linked arm-in-arm and hold it once again in your heart and mind. Now, ask yourself, “Who am I helping to carry in love to a place of healing?” Take a moment to give thanks for that community with whom you are a partner in ministry. Take another moment to offer a prayer for the person or persons being carried and ask God to bless them with the healing that they need.
We accomplish so much more together in community than we can by ourselves, especially for:
In community, we can traverse huge distances, endure hardships, and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to attain healing, experience forgiveness, and ultimately find love. When it occurs, people are amazed and glorify God.
i John Buchanan, The Healer, a sermon preached at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL, on Feb 11, 2007, citing the New York Times, December 20, 2006.
Rev. David Ezekiel is San Francisco Theological Seminary Ford Fellow for Congregational Studies and Evangelism.
Take a few moments to remember a time in which you experienced adversity or brokenness.
Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.
By Jordan Teague
Because the world has made so much progress against hunger in recent decades, those who face hunger, malnutrition, and extreme poverty are increasingly likely to live in areas currently experiencing or recovering from crises. They are the hardest to reach and the most...
Improving nutrition not only alleviates human suffering, but also improves the conditions that create poverty in the first place. For every $1 invested in...
A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.
Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.
In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
A wide array of the nation’s faith leaders have come together on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States to commit ourselves to encourage our communities to work for the end of hunger by 2030 and, toward that end, for a shift in U.S. national priorities.
We are deeply pleased...
A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.
For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.
Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.
Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.
Estados Unidos es una nación de inmigrantes. A través de su historia gente de todas partes del mundo se han trasladado aquí y han contribuido en sus comunidades y a nuestra vida nacional. Hoy, al igual que en el pasado, los inmigrantes continúan creando prosperidad y enriquecimiento para esta...