The miracle of food

In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, Pam Ferguson reflects on her work managing a community food pantry. “In six years, I’ve handled over a million pounds of food. I watch food items come and quickly go.” And Pam wonders at her “various motivations: feeding children, saving food from landfills, meeting an increasing need in my community, increasing the amount of fresh food and protein to the most vulnerable . . . creating a network of volunteers.”

I relate to Pam’s experience, thinking about the number of words I’ve edited at Barclay Press, or from back when I was teaching, the number of students who moved through my classroom. I wonder what you would count in your own reflection about what you’ve accomplished over the years.

Pam writes that the more than “a million pounds of food” represents “much time and energy wondering how I am going to fill the shelves at the pantry or where the money will come from.”

I can relate to this as well – the sense that the problems I face are too much and that I am not enough. Pam writes that long ago, she “gave up the need to know how it will be done,” and she claims the story of Elijah and the widow at Zarephath as a source of hope. “The miracle of nourishment is a gift from our Creator and a reminder of God’s care for every human being, especially those who have little.” 

This week, a week of Thanksgiving, is a time for many to think about family and food. (I’ll be at my grandma’s house in southern Oregon. I’ll roast the turkey and bake crescent rolls. My sister will make pie. My grandma will eat all the olives.) Pam writes that this is also a week when people remember their neighbors in need, “a week of increased donations to the food pantry. Being present to watch the miracle of food filling the shelves blesses me. It reminds me that miracles come in all forms – and the miracle of nourishment should never be taken for granted.” 

Eric Muhr