The Gift of Presence
For nearly two weeks, those of us in the Saint Paul Area Synod have been blessed by the presence of ou[...]
"Give us this day our daily bread," we pray - and we trust that God will provide. For many people in Guatemala, corn makes tortillas so that people can have that promise of Daily Bread. But sometimes nature and weather do not cooperate. Sometimes flooding wipes out a crop or drought means no harvest. In Guatemala, many people are farmers, and many of the ILAG congregations are in rural communities. Our brothers and sisters in the ILAG count on the corn crop to provide their daily bread.
2016, unfortunately, has brought drought, and the lack of rainfall has created a crisis. When people use all the corn they have to make daily bread for today, there is nothing left for tomorrow, or for next year's crop. And when all the corn has been used to make daily tortillas, what do they do then? They look to the providence of God - and God looks to us to be daily bread to our neighbors.
My congregation, Spring Garden Lutheran Church of Cannon Falls, is also a rural, farming community, much like many of the congregations of the ILAG. Spring Garden is one of the outlier churches - of the Southeast Minnesota Synod - that joins the Saint Paul Area Synod in this global companionship. It's true that most congregations in the Saint Paul Area Synod live and serve in urban and suburban communities. For many, growing corn is an unfamiliar way of life or a distant memory. But the Saint Paul Area Synod does have a rural congregation! St. Mark's Lutheran Church of Randolph is a close neighbor to us at Spring Garden. With our rural roots, we'd like to invite other congregations to join us in helping ILAG congregations have daily bread in their future.
Because of crop failure, ILAG has used up emergency funds to help people eat for today. But what is needed just as much as food for today is seed corn for October's crop. St. Mark's in Randolph and Spring Garden of Cannon Falls are joining forces to raise funds to seed the future. Pastor Steve Schmidt of St. Mark's and our people at Spring Garden are going to work together to creatively meet this need.
Our corn here is already six feet tall and we hope for a bumper crop. ILAG tells us that $50 buys a bag of seed corn. While we can't really send a bushel or a bag, our people can buy a bushel or a bag. We will be inviting the partner congregations of ILAG to seed the future so our friends can also enjoy the security of daily bread. Harvest will come soon enough for us! Let's see if together we can make planting season a season of hope for our friends in Guatemala! Plans are being fleshed out - stay tuned for coming details!
The Rev. Nick Fisher-Broin
Spring Garden Lutheran, Cannon Falls