I am a life-long United Methodist who didn’t practice what I preached until I was given an amazing opportunity with Bread for the World to become a Hunger Justice Leader earlier this month. I have always known about the United Methodist Social Principles and our call to serve the least of these, but I was convinced my voice would not make a difference, so I said nothing. I am ashamed that my silence on so many issues has been taken for approval when I far from approve of hunger, poverty, injustice, homophobia, and all of the ills that plague our denomination, communities, and world.
Through Bread for the World, I was given an opportunity to come together with young adults from so many different denominations from all over the United States to learn how we can use our voices to advocate to decision makers on behalf of our brothers and sisters in our communities and across the world to affect real change. Until recently I never took my dual citizenship in the Kindom of God and as a citizen of the United States seriously. At times I have been more focused on one than the other—or simply not at all.
As Christians, and as United Methodists, we have an amazing legacy to live into to serve the least of these through the example of Jesus Christ and even John Wesley. We are called to stand up for and with our brothers and sisters who live in the margins, who are hungry, who despair, and who cannot see the light in the darkness. We are called to break down these walls of despair and to be beacons of hope, not just because it is the cool thing to do, but because it is the right thing to do.
Being an advocate for all of God’s children is somewhat scary, and I can attest to that fear, but recognizing that fear and having the courage to go anyway is exactly what the Gospels proclaim time and again. It is shameful in the year 2012 that we have starving people in our communities and in the world. It does not have to be like this—no one has to go to bed hungry or suffer from food insecurity.
We must stand up and use our voices to advocate to our representatives in Congress. We must call on them to create a circle of protection around programs such as SNAP, WIC, School-Based Nutrition Programs, and Foreign Aid, which is vital to hungry and poor people in the US and abroad. We must ask our Congressional Representatives to work together and to put aside partisan issues to ensure that no one is hungry. We need to open our eyes and see the face of Christ in everyone we encounter and stop turning a blind eye to these basic human needs.
Use your voice. Write, call, or email your Representatives. “Do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with our God.”
Maggie Edmondson is the Minister of Congregational Care and a member of Hillview United Methodist Church in Boise, Idaho. She is a graduate of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University where she earned her Master of Divinity and also holds a degree in English from West Liberty State College. She is a 2012 Hunger Justice Leader with Bread for the World.