MARCH 5, 2020

Hymn ELW 712 

“Lord, Whose Love in Humble Service” has two stanzas that speak to hunger and how we are called to serve others.  

Still your children wander homeless; still the hungry cry for bread; Still the captives long for freedom; still in grief we mourn our dead; As you, Lord, in deep compassion healed the sick and freed the soul; By your spirit send your power to our world to make it whole. Called by worship to your service; forth in your dear name we go, To the child, the youth, the aged, love in living deeds to show; Hope and health, good-will and comfort, cousel, aid and peace we give, That your servants, Lord, in freedom may your mercy know and live. 

Albert F. Bayly, an English Congregational minister, wrote the text for this hymn. His life and ministry spanned the years of the Depression and WWII. 

Reflection: How does God care for people who are hungry? Is it our call to feed the hungry? In the 1930s during the Great Depression my father was a teenager in a small Iowa farm town. Their family lived about four blocks from the railroad tracks that cut through town. My dad grew up next door to my mom; the house he lived in later and where I grew up. I stopped next door to see my grandparents almost daily. 

My dad frequently talked to me about the hobos who would come to their back door for food at supper time during his high school years. His mother got into a habit of preparing extra food to have enough to share. My dad would proceed to tell me how he would go with the hobos back to their campfires by the railroad tracks in the evening to visit. 

Not until last summer 2019, when I visited the Hobo Museum in Britt, IA, with my grandchildren, did I realize that in the rural Midwest many of the hobos were between 14 and 19 years old, teenagers just like my dad. These teenage children, mostly from large impoverished families with too many mouths to feed, either chose or were asked to leave home to find food to eat. They jumped trains, rode the rails and camped out at night in search of food and possible temporary work. 

I now realize my Grandma Rose may have seen this as her own opportunity to be of service to others during the Depression. My grandma allowed the light of Christ to shine through her to be light for others. 

Prayer: Lord, help each of us recognize opportunities in our own lives, to meet others’ physical, emotional and/or spiritual hunger. 

-Julie Kotewa