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Thinking the Faith, Praying the Faith, Living the Faith is written by the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship.

Thinking, praying, and living the faith is at the core of ministry in the Office of Theology and Worship. In the following videos, learn more about what thinking, praying, and living the faith means to the leadership of the Office of Theology and Worship. Discover why it matters and what difference it makes in our lives, work, and worship.  

Charles Wiley  
Barry Ensign-George
David Gambrell
Christine Hong 
Karen Russell

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July 22, 2011

Bread of Life

A desperate situation continues to develop in the Horn of Africa: food crisis, drought, and famine are putting ten million people at risk of starvation. As the body of Christ, how are we called to respond?

The church’s ministry to the hungry is closely tied with the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Remember that one of the most distinctive and celebrated parts of Jesus’ ministry was feeding the hungry (e.g., in the feeding of the multitude, attested in all four gospels). The early church continued that tradition—gathering their offerings around the eucharistic table and sharing the abundance of that meal with those in need (see Acts 2:44-45 or Justin Martyr’s First Apology). The church’s worship and mission were one.

In subsequent centuries we have nearly lost that connection, forgetting that our spiritual nourishment from the Word of God and the Lord’s table is meant to strengthen us for service to others. The church has been consumed with arguments over the nature of Christ’s presence in the meal (an important theological question, to be sure!) – but we have often ignored the presence of the poor within our sanctuaries and around the world.

Still, there are vestiges of the fullness of the sacrament’s meaning in our contemporary practices: in the approach to the table we bring our tithes and offerings, pledging our time and treasure for those in need; at the beginning of the eucharistic prayer, we bless God for the gifts of creation, which sustain human life; in the Great Thanksgiving, we recall that Jesus “fed the hungry ... broke bread with outcasts and sinners, and proclaimed the good news ... to the poor and needy”; at the conclusion of the prayer, we anticipate the feast of justice and plenty for all “in the joy of [God’s] eternal realm”; we ask for “daily bread” in the prayer that Jesus taught.

Remember Jesus’ words: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry” (John 6:35).  Let’s find ways to show and tell this good news to God’s people in the Horn of Africa. Learn more through the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations and give generously through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

Tags: worship