November 14, 2021
Scripture is full of human desire for a sense of home, belonging, security: a mother lovingly placing a basket in the reeds to protect her infant son, a faith community’s journey through wilderness to find a promised homeland, a place to lay a baby’s head when there’s no room at the inn.
In the United States, 1 in 5 children live in poverty. Nearly half a million Americans do not have a safe home. More than 65 million people worldwide have become refugees. Meanwhile, the land that many of us live on is traditional unceded homeland of Native and Indigenous Americans who had these homelands taken.
May we offer ourselves in the face of such tragedies. We can take inspiration from many, including the Rev. Dr. Jean Kim, a tireless advocate for the unhoused who recently died. She was well known in Presbyterian circles for her amazing ministry and for her purple shirt that said, “End homelessness!” Born in North Korea in 1935, having to flee to South Korea a decade later, and then coming to the U.S. in 1970, Rev. Dr. Kim knew homelessness and displacement. She turned her life experiences into a powerful movement for the unhoused in Washington state. She founded the Church of Mary Magdalene, and it continues today as Mary’s Place, which last year provided more than 141,000 overnight stays, and more than 424,000 meals. She also worked on root causes of homelessness, by doing public policy advocacy and pursuing racial justice.
A major way that the church addresses homelessness across the country is through organizing and advocating together locally for affordable housing policies and financial commitments. In D.C., Washington Interfaith Network is one of the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s Congregation-Based Community Organizing (CBCO) groups. They have rehabbed and protected over 500 affordable apartments from being torn down or converted to condos, worked for the construction of over 2,000 other affordable rentals, and are holding policy makers to account in order to fund an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. There are many other CBCOs across the country similarly struggling for a better world, a safe home, for all.
Rebecca Barnes, Coordinator, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 14, 2021, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Today’s Focus: Hunger and Homelessness Sunday
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
O Christ, you call us to welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, tend the sick and give water to the thirsty — and more than all of this, to see you in each person standing before us. May we recognize the dignity and worth of each person and understand that we are all connected and have the same longings and needs and rights. Thank you for all those working and witnessing how to make change for a better future. Guide us that we may follow you as we seek to provide well-being for all.