April 4, 2020

Hymn ELW 734 – “God, Whose Farm Is All Creation
God, whose farm is all creation,
take the gratitude we give;
take the finest of our harvest,
crops we grow that we may live.
Take our plowing, seeding, reaping,
hopes and fears of sun and rain,
all our thinking, planning, waiting,
ripened in this fruit and grain.
All our labor, all our watching,
all our calendar of care
in these crops of your creation,
take, O God: they are our prayer.

Text: John Arlott, 1914-1991
Text ©Trustees of the late John Arlott, admin. Augsburg Fortress.

Reflection: During World War II, food staples, including sugar, butter and canned milk, were rationed, and families were issued ration stamp books for each food staple. The stamps were small, about the size of a postage stamp, and had to be given over along with money, to make a purchase of a rationed item.
    My grandfather, who was an avid stamp collector, gave me my very own stamp album for my sixth birthday. I loved books, and I loved my new stamp album, but I didn’t have any stamps to put in it. I knew where my mother kept some stamps and I found them in a book marked “sugar,” took some, and pasted them in my new stamp album. 
    I got into a lot of trouble. My parents told me I had brought hardship to our family, and we would have to go without food, including foods I loved, cookies, cakes and pies. I felt awful and deprived.
    I have never known hunger, but I have seen it over the years as a social worker in the schools I served. Sometimes it was apparent, sometimes not. I saw teachers keep snack bars in their desks for children who hadn’t had breakfast. I saw children pocket a piece of leftover fruit from another child’s tray in the school lunchroom and later take it home. These children were deprived of more than sugar, butter and canned milk. Yet we have an abundance of food in our nation, and nothing is rationed. Nor is God’s love and care for us rationed. He gives us our abundance, and so we must give in abundance, with God’s help, to those who are hungry, until all are fed.
Prayer: Lord of the harvest, you love us all equally. Help us feed our neighbor in need. Help us feed the world. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

-Chris Steele