November 15, 2020
Thus says the Lord: Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is my resting place? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things are mine … (Isaiah 66:1–2a).
God has created an abundant and beautiful planet to be home for people and all living creatures. Many of us have a place in this world we call our own, a place where family gathers and meals are shared, and where we rest at the end of each day. But not everyone.
Some have no place to cook a meal, no place to sit back and rest their feet, no place to call home. We see their faces, if we dare look as we pass them on the street. We feel compassion. But what can we do?
Some congregations wanting to make a difference are, together with their neighbors and communities, listening to needs, discovering where inequities and injustices lie, and working together to find solutions. Often this becomes ecumenical work that engages churches, businesses, local agencies, government representatives and policy makers. Coming together as Congregation Based Community Organizations (CBCOs), the members join with people whose voices are often ignored to seek solutions and advocate for change.
In San Rafael, California, tenants worked with the Marin Organizing Committee (MOC) to fight against a sudden increase in rent. The 40% increase within 60 days would have put many families at risk of displacement or homelessness. The MOC is advocating for stronger protections for tenants in Marin County.
In Story County, Iowa, the AMOS Institute of Public Life is working on permanent supportive housing for people with mental illness and support for immigrant families.
In Washington, D.C., the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) is comprised of Protestant and Catholic congregations, synagogues, a mosque and community organizations. The WIN advocated for the Housing Production Trust Fund and has celebrated how this fund has been used to produce more than 9,000 units of affordable housing.
In North Carolina, after years of negotiation with Durham CAN, county commissioners have agreed that of 437 apartments they plan to build on county lots, more than half of the units will be designated as affordable housing.
Congregations who serve in their communities, advocating together to lift a voice for justice, often find the vibrancy of their own congregations built up. Considering the call in Matthew 25 to see Christ in those who are hurting, bound, hungry or homeless, perhaps those congregations have found a way to help build a house — a place of rest — as if for the Lord.
As we recognize Hunger and Homelessness Sunday, may we learn what we can do to help others in need of a place of rest – a place to call home.
Each year a portion of One Great Hour of Sharing gifts, through the Presbyterian Hunger Program, supports the work of CBCOs as they strive to make homes available for those who may have no other attainable option. You can learn more at presbyterianmission.org/cbco.
Jenny Oldham, Presbyterian Hunger Program
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, November 15, 2020, the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Today’s Focus: Hunger and Homelessness Sunday
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Tim Stepp, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)
Let us pray:
God of all compassion, during this season when we share food, celebrate family and are thankful for a place of rest, please help us to remember that not everyone is sharing in these basic blessings. Help us to see Christ in the faces of those who are hungry or homeless and to respond faithfully. As we consider what we will give, or how we will help, may your love be our inspiration and your Spirit be our guide.