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5th December - Food bank users

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me

Matthew 25:35

They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.

Galatians 2:10

Sadly we often see crisis appeals for famines in Africa, often caused by drought or conflict. We are not used to appeals for food on our doorstep in our financially rich country.

The fact is that here and across the world there is enough food for everyone - it's simply a question of distribution. From welfare benefit issues to world trade systems that penalise the poor, flawed or inefficient systems create crises for those least able to cope.

We who follow Jesus have responsibilities to try and change those systems and see justice for all - 'to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God' (Micah 6:8). While we work for those changes so we reflect Jesus' love for us by showing our love for our neighbours in practical ways, including providing food for the hungry. Jesus fed thousands without regard to their age, sex, race, colour, creed or any of the ways we so often discriminate. Let us follow his example.

Peter MacLellan is chair of the board of trustees for Durham Christian Partnership, and pastor of the Durham Vineyard Church

The County Durham foodbank provides enough food for over 10,000 meals each month to people experiencing a crisis that leaves them unable to provide essentials for themselves and their family. A third of those fed are children. All the food is donated by local people in County Durham.

Daily prayer

Lord, thank you for your generosity and grace. Open our hearts and minds. Help us to love without judging and to give generously to others just as you gave yourself for us. Give us wisdom and perseverance as we work for justice and help us to build your Kingdom here on earth.

Amen

Lord, in this time of Advent open our hearts to those who feel excluded from Your church.
Help us draw in those on the margins and place them in the centre of our family.

Amen