Famine – Biblical or Modern?

Date posted: Monday 16 April 2018

Our Women of the ELCA bible study for April focused on “The Prodigal Son” story, alongside writing by Mark Allan Powell. One of the ways in which Powell helped us look at the story through new eyes was by noting how readers in the United States didn’t notice the famine in the story. Yet, readers in Tanzania and in Russia - countries that have witnessed famine in recent history - did notice.


In our discussion together we talked about famine and why it would be that others would recognize and acknowledge famine and we might not. We realized that when one has not experienced hunger much less famine, we are more apt to focus on other aspects of the story. This led us to talk about today and our lives in a very global society.


Few women in our group were able to tell where people are experiencing famine today. While we agreed that our news media is not often reporting on hunger issues, hunger still is a fact of life today for millions of people. We also know that the ELCA is working through faith communities and NGOs around the world to help bring us to a world without hunger.


In the meantime, it is important that we, as Easter people, do know what is happening in our world. Until 2017 the number of worldwide deaths from famine had been falling dramatically. But in 2017, the United Nations officially declared famine had returned to parts of Africa and about 20 million people are at risk of death from starvation in four countries - South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, and Yemen.


Famine is not only biblical and historical; it is very much with us today. Acquaint yourself with the four countries mentioned above, keep the people of those countries in your prayers, and ask that God will lead us in the best ways to be of help in seeing that they have food today and tomorrow.


Vernita Kennen

Incarnation Lutheran, Shoreview