Friday, April 24, 2009

Beans, Rice, and the Reign of God

Tonight is our Fools for Christ’s Sake Dinner at St. Andrew’s ( – a gourmet Haitian feast along with entertainment from parishioners. The event benefits the school we support in Maniche, Haiti, specifically the lunch program we began there earlier this year.

The school at Maniche and its hot-lunch program are worth a little theological reflection, particularly in this Easter season. Think back about the news reports from Haiti over the past year. What most of us probably remember are the four hurricanes that struck Haiti this fall, one after another in just a few weeks. More than 500 were killed; thousands saw their homes destroyed. And, as if Haitians didn’t have enough of a challenge finding adequate nutrition in the best of circumstances, the hurricanes wiped out many crops and livestock. And now, months later, the effects continue because, of course, seed for the future was destroyed, too.

In the midst of this darkness, light still breaks in. Led by Dr. Kathy Shaffer, St. Andrew’s began a hot-lunch program this fall for the 200 or so students at the school in Maniche. Initially, meals were served three days a week; this semester, it’s increased to five days a week. A bowl of beans and rice may not seem like much, but it’s huge for these students, both in terms of surviving today and in terms of learning for tomorrow.

Of course, Haiti is just one example of poverty and injustice in the world. Every day, we see and hear about darkness apparently gaining the upper hand. But especially in this season of resurrection, it’s good to see the kingdom of God springing up in the midst of devastation. Christ is alive, after all – not just 2,000 years ago on the first Easter morning, but right now. There in Maniche, in a small hot-lunch program, you can see Christ’s reign breaking into the darkness. And we get to be part of it.

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