A Reflection on the 2016 Hunger Walk
by Barrett Payne, DHPC Youth Director and Columbia Seminary Intern
The sun was shining, the bands were playing, the food was grilling, and the people were celebrating. This was the image the youth of DHPC and I saw as we walked down the steps from the blue parking lot at Turner Field to the green parking lot where the Hunger Walk/Run festivities were taking place. As we grew closer to the crowd, I was reminded that this was not just any party. The festivities that we were witnessing were thousands of people from all walks of life coming together for the common goal of fighting hunger in the Metro Atlanta area.
In the state of Georgia, one out of every five persons is food insecure, which means that they are not certain how they will receive their next meal. Thankfully the local food pantries are able to assist as they serve one out of every seven persons in Metro Atlanta. For me this was eye-opening. Many of us simply go to our pantry when we are hungry and when that becomes bare we drive to the local supermarket to replenish it. We often take food and the ease of getting it for granted.
As the DHPC group reflected on the problem of hunger, I could not help but think towards the upcoming weeks of Easter. We gather at the Table for the Lord’s Supper to remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the night of his arrest, scripture says that Jesus “took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’” (Luke 22:19 NRSV). But we do more than remember Jesus’s life. We come to the table to celebrate the gift we received from the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. However, this gift is not for us alone. As Jesus shared this gift of love with us, we Christians are called to share this gift of love with others.
Is this what we saw on Sunday, March 13? Were we witnessing a city coming together to share the love of many in order to raise both money and awareness for a basic need of our neighbors – food? I think if we looked closely, what we saw on this beautiful sunny afternoon was a glimpse of heaven and earth coming together. Perhaps this is what we are called to remember when we participate at the table: the humanity and the divinity of Jesus Christ bringing the earthly and heavenly worlds together.
If you were not able to make the Hunger Walk/Run this year, I hope you can join us in 2017 and witness two worlds coming together to fight for our neighbors.