(re)Imagining Requirements

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jakjSwFioVg

“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

—Micah 6:6-8

This past weekend, Young Harris College’s Campus Activities Board and Inter-Religious Council co-sponsored the college’s first-ever 30Hour Famine event. This event was created by WorldVision to help students gain an understanding of what it is like to go without food and to create bonds and memories while serving others. The 30Hour Famine began this past Friday at noon with a voluntary fast by the nearly 30 students who chose to participate.  The experience ended on Saturday at 6pm with a shared meal.  Before explaining the fast, understanding why a fast is important proves a good place to start.

According to World Vision, hunger persists around the world, on every continent and in every country.  In their estimation, more than 870 million people go to bed each night hungry.  Eight hundred and seventy million represents about 12% of the people who share the planet with us.  The world’s hungry include both those who suffer from starvation and those who suffer from malnutrition.  While related, starvation and malnutrition are different.  Starvation is the lack of food entirely.  Malnutrition results from not ingesting the right nutrients.  Starvation leads to death.  Malnutrition may lead to death and will certainly lead to the onset of many crippling and life-threatening diseases.  In the United States, nearly one in every five children lives in poverty, many of whom suffer from chronic hunger, too.

When some of our students recently learned of these issues around world hunger, they determined to do something about it.  Their first step was to raise awareness on campus about hunger’s persisting as an international, domestic, and local issue.  The 30Hour Famine was their creative effort to bring the issue of hunger into the center of our campus’ gaze.

On Friday, 30 students agreed to begin a fast as a way to experience—in a small way—what others experience every day.  To help pass the time and endure the pangs of hunger, students gathered on Friday night in the Student Center to watch movies and play games.  Saturday morning, they met in front of the chapel, carpooling to Ledford’s Chapel UMC in Hayesville to volunteer with Matthew’s Ministry, a local effort by several religious communities to fight poverty in the surrounding counties through the distribution of food and other essential goods.  After volunteering on Saturday morning, students took naps, already feeling the life-impacting effects of not having enough to eat.  Later in the afternoon, students finished their time together bowling in Blairsville and, then, sharing a meal in the Student Center.

These students’ weekend evidenced the increasing consciousness amongst our student body as to some vital and challenging issues in our world and that the ability to make a positive impact does not require tackling the whole issue at once but that the journey towards a solution begins with an initial step, possibly started one weekend in February.  As it turns out, faithfulness includes imagining new ways to live and engage the world through transformative love, as much if not more than believing the right things and offering the assumed necessary confessions.

Have a great week and see you along the way.

But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

—Amos 5:24

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