Daily Readings in Lent, March 8

May I make you a plate?

If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. — Isaiah 58:10

“May I make you plate?” is a question I’ve heard in my life when I’ve been too busy to eat, too tired to cook, or even too low on cash for groceries, as it was early in my career as a magazine editor. Most of my entry-level paycheck went towards the rent of my studio apartment in Manhattan’s historic Murray Hill neighborhood.

“May I make you a plate?” always made me feel cared for. More importantly, though, it made me feel seen. Someone noticed my plight. Someone thought enough to reach out with a plate of food that would fill much more than a hollow stomach. Plates of food can be plates of love. They can also be cautionary tales of how we are misusing our abundance.

There was a church I knew that prided itself on the lavish banquet that they called “Coffee Hour.”  Every week after worship, they would rush to fill their plates with hot casseroles and an endless array of cheeses and sweets. After a few months of watching this Sunday feasting, I realized this congregation’s love for food could become an opening for mission beyond the fellowship hall.

I began asking: How could they share this abundance with others? Could plates be made for the family whose children couldn’t wait to get back to school on Monday because then their weekend fast would come to end? Could a plate be made for the elderly widow who had to choose between paying a heating bill or buying groceries? Could plates be made for hospital workers working tirelessly due to a health system burdened by a pandemic?

The questions have yet to be answered. Their feasting continues. And so, I turn to you and ask, “Who can you make a plate for this day?” Who will be touched that you have seen them too tired to cook, too busy to eat or too financially strapped to fill their kitchen cupboards?

Prayer

God, we thank you for the food that graces our tables this day. We thank you for all the times you have satiated our hungers. Open our eyes now to whom we might be able to “make a plate” for. Lead us this day to the one you want us to help. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Ponder

The hunger statistics are alarming as the global pandemic has put more pressure on food systems. Remember, those who are hungry might look like you and me.

How can we become more aware of those who are hungry among us? Who in your community can help you identify the hunger needs: school officials, social workers, or town officials?

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