‘The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord,* and you give them their food in due season. You open wide your hand,* and satisfy the needs of every living creature’ Psalm 145:16-17
These words have long been in my memory since the first days I attended summer camp in the Diocese of Fond du Lac. Every meal at camp began with the call and response of these two verses - between the person offering the thanksgiving for our meal and the campers and staff. This was a tradition I had to learn my first year at camp, and thankfully my priest shared this tradition with me before I attended my first session. Much like how we learn many things in our tradition - I learned it by listening and repeating - not by reading it first.
This passage also fills my head with images of the last couple of weeks in Ecuador. Helping a family de-kernel dried corn for grinding, watching women prepare mounds of food for our team in a kitchen no bigger than St. Dunstan’s parish hall closet, and seeing beggars on the streets selling anything to get money for food.
Even in the worst times of my life, I have never truly been hungry or lacked in putting food on the table. My mother, a child of the depression, never had an empty pantry. And as one of her children - I not only learned to cook simple meals from staples - but also never have an empty pantry. I’m sure many of us can relate to full cupboards. Most in the U.S. live in a place of abundance when we compare ourselves to the rest of the world; where many live on just $1 a day. Yet, we seem to have an insatiable need for more, better, bigger, and who can be first.
How do we change this? I think it is by trying to live into a place of gratitude - not of what we have done - but by understanding that everything that we have - our livelihood, our abilities and our abundance - is a gift from God. If we truly believe that all we possess is God’s then we can be more generous in what we give away.
Sue von Rautenkranz