Sermon Reflections for East Africa (Sunday, November 6th)

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, November 6th, 2011

(Amos 5:18-24, Psalm 70, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 25:1-13)

Be ready! Who knows when the groom will arrive (or the Lord for that matter)? It is clear in the parable that the young women are preparing to meet the bridegroom and accompany him to the wedding feast with his bride (probably with torches to light the way). At least one way to apply this parable to our situation is to wonder if we know for what are we making preparations?  Would we be prepared if a drought and famine like the one in East Africa arrived on our shores? Are we prepared when the needs of those affected by such a crisis come to our attention?

There a lack of rain, which began in late 2010, has led to several failed crop cycles, the death of livestock and the loss of agricultural livelihoods. Left with few resources to provide food for themselves and their families, and displaced by ongoing conflict and fighting, people are fleeing their home lands inSomaliafor camps in Ethiopia and Kenya.

The parable in today’s Gospel reminds us that it is not just immediate relief (relief from sin, relief from brokenness, relief from hunger) that Jesus brings us, but it is sustainability, preparedness for the journey ahead. Through the gracious gifts of bread and wine, forgiveness and community, God acts to prepare us for the road ahead of us. The acts of mercy that God calls us to reflect that; we are called not just to respond to the immediate need in our neighbors’ life, but to the needs that are lasting and sustainable.

 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.