“Be a Light to Others”
Sermon by Lay Preacher, Karen Seferi
Good Friday Service, April 7, 2023
“My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”
We all know who the forsaken are. We see them on the street, looking disheveled, pushing a shopping cart. They could be our neighbors, relatives, co-workers. They may be homeless, addicted, infirm, mentally ill, mentally challenged, unemployed, underemployed, uneducated, untrained.
Many of these folks live in poverty or are on the brink of poverty. We might all be in this situation with one lay off, one catastrophic illness, one separation in the family, one death, one pandemic.
Government programs have helped many of these people if they fit the parameters of the program. Many programs are temporary and some just miss the mark of being truly helpful.
Food pantries and local social service programs fill the gaps and often sustain families until they return to work, return to health or return to normalcy.
Communities need to support these programs that help their own citizens the way they need to be helped giving food, making a mortgage payment, paying a medical bill.
Covid 19 turned our contended lifestyles upside down. Businesses closed, the hospitality industry took a hit. Low income workers lost their jobs; high income workers lost their jobs. People’s lives fell apart. Children had to learn to learn at home. Teachers needed to learn a new way of teaching.
People needed food. They were afraid to go to the store. They didn’t have enough money to feed their families. They needed to learn about SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and other community resources, especially food pantries. People were embarrassed to come in and clueless about what they may be eligible for, a difficult pill to swallow. World famous chef Jose Andres who feeds thousands during disasters commented about food: “Food is national security. Food is economy. It is employment, energy, history. Food is everything.”
Locally we had attorneys who could not work because the court houses were closed. Business owners lost customers causing their business to close. Several of our single supporting spouses lost their jobs and they were living with a disabled partner or child. One of our most devout families was supported primarily by the woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before Covid struck. Her husband’s hours were cut. She survived treatment but could not return to work because she was at high risk. To add insult to injury their home was flooded, losing clothing and their car. But God works in mysterious ways. A friend from her church told her about the food pantry and encouraged her to come in. It changed their lives and with our support and that of social services they are rebuilding their lives.
We have many single parent families, who lost jobs and apartments, or were between jobs and needed to move back in with family and look to the community for support.
Our Seniors were so frightened by Covid we had to deliver groceries to them or pack up groceries for them to pick up.
Social Services and the Food Pantry kept the community fed by packing up groceries for families to pick up, distributing weekly grocery bags, and implementing the Local Meals Program where families impacted by Covid could visit local restaurants and pick up meals. We continually strive to provide nutritional food to our families.
People have had hunger issues since the beginning of time. Many important people have weighed in: John 6:35 says: I am the bread of life. “Whoever comes to me will never go hungry.”
As the 16th century writer Cervantes commented: “All sorrows are less with bread.”
American agronomist Norman Gorlaug says it well: “Food is a moral right of all who are born in this world.”
Senegalese Diplomat Jacques Diouf added in: “Hunger is not an issue of charity. It is an issue of justice.”
Even the Irish singer and activist Bono chimed in: “If you want to eliminate hunger, everybody has to be involved.”
And that’s where we are today, everybody has to be involved.
I follow Kelly’s Treehouse on Facebook and thought the following posting was appropriate for this program:
When you find yourself in the position to help someone, be happy and feel blessed because God is answering that person’s prayer through you. Remember: our purpose is not to get lost in the dark but to be a light to others, so that they may find their way through us.