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By Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith
“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb [and] did not find the body [and] they were perplexed about this ….” Luke 24.2-4
In 33 A.D. a group of women came to the tomb of Jesus to anoint His body. After being violently assaulted, tortured, and crucified on a cross, Jesus’ broken body was laid to rest in a tomb. Many of these same women—including Mary, the mother of Jesus—had beheld the brutal ordeal and sought to not only honor the body of Jesus but his memory.
Imagine the horror of Mary and her community witnessing such a brutal and unjust death of her son. But also imagine the awful surprise of not finding Jesus upon arriving at the tomb where He had been laid to rest.
During this year’s transitional season of Lent to Good Friday and then to the Great Resurrection, we too still give witness to the many vivid images of violent death and the daily announcements awfulness of missing persons. The daily images of Ukrainian peoples affected by conflict that breeds this continue to haunt us. Ethiopian people, especially in Tigray, as well as people in places like Yemen, Nigeria, and South Sudan also experience conflict, and hunger is a result.
Did you know that 98 percent of the population of Afghanistan, affected by years of conflict, do not have enough to eat? One million children under the age of five could die from malnutrition by the end of the year. In Yemen and other places around the world, food prices have doubled. Did you also know Russia and Ukraine are responsible for 29 percent of global wheat exports—19 percent from Russia, 10 percent from Ukraine, and they also produce fertilizer and fuel? The result being that our global food system is and will continue to be affected no matter where we are in the world.
We are called to be bearers of surprising hope that the women experienced when they realized that Jesus body was not taken away at the tomb, but that Jesus had risen! We see, for example, surprising hope with the Ukrainian churches providing refuge and medical aid in 10th and 11th century churches. There is surprising hope in the 120 rock-hewn churches in Ethiopia providing sanctuary. There is surprising hope in the unified global outcry denouncing the violent assaults, especially on civilians, in places like these and providing support.
But more is needed to move from seasons of Good Friday to Resurrection. Our devotional life matters. This, alongside the spiritual practice of being an advocate with and for those who are affected by conflict, war, hunger, and poverty is timely and quite important. Bread for the World has been advocating for emergency aid for Ukraine, but also for emergency food aid to address hunger around the world due to chaos, climate change, and conflict. Won’t you join us in advocating for surprising hope through prayer and advocacy engagement? Here is the link to advocate with us and a global hunger map.
Angelique Walker-Smith is senior associate for Pan African and Orthodox Church engagement at Bread for the World.
Afghanistan would be considered likely to have high rates of hunger because at least two of the major causes of global hunger affect it—armed conflict and fragile governmental institutions.
Malnutrition is responsible for nearly half of all preventable deaths among children under 5. Every year, the world loses hundreds of thousands of young children and babies to hunger-related causes.
Bread for the World is calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to build a better 1,000-Days infrastructure in the United States.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to respond to changes in need, making it well suited to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.