Sermon Reflections for East Africa (Sunday, October 2nd)

Every Tuesday until Advent, LWR will be posting brief theological reflections on the upcoming Sunday’s Lectionary readings. This resource is intended to help pastors find touch points between Sunday preaching and the current crisis in East Africa. For more resources to engage your congregation with this famine go to where you can find a PDF of all of these sermon reflections between now and Advent.

Sunday, October 2nd

(Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:7-15, Philippians 3:4b – 14, Matthew 21: 33-46) 

When reading a parable like the one in today’s Gospel reading that deals with agriculture, it can be tempting to place an agricultural crisis like what is taking place in the Horn of Africa in the midst of the metaphor. Where we encounter the gospel message though is in God’s action in this story. As the landowner in this parable, God gives, creating a rather elaborate vineyard and giving it over to the tenants. God is self-sacrificing to the point of giving his own son. This self-sacrificing is done to collect what rightfully belongs to the landowner, and Christ is willing to go into what has already proven to be difficult and dangerous territory.

As we look upon crisis like the famine in East Africa, and we see lives that are precious to God being lost due to unnecessary starvation, how will we follow the Son into these vineyards, often dangerous and uncertain, and help to protect what belongs to the landowner? What are we called upon to sacrifice in God’s actions of grace and mercy?

In Jesus’ conclusion of the parable we then hear of a God that does the unexpected and amazing. Ours is a God that builds upon what is rejected by the world and makes something amazing out of it. When we see pictures and stories coming from East Africa it is easy to believe that this is where the castoffs and undesirables have ended up, but as followers of Jesus we know that it is at places such as this that God is working to do amazing things. How are we called to be a part of that?

To carry out a long-term response to this crisis, aimed at helping farmers recover their crops and agricultural livelihoods and reducing people’s vulnerability to future crises, LWR must raise $3 million by the end of 2011.
Your congregation can be an important part of that by taking up the Feeding 5,000 Challenge. For resources to help connect them with LWR’s emergency response in East Africa go to or call 1-800-597-5972.