This new season of ThirdSpace we have decided that alternate meals together should be truly simple meals with donations for a charity chosen by someone different each time. We shared soup, bread, cheese and water with Mary’s Meals the designated recipient of our privilege.
We began our meal reading the following words:
Psalm 41:1 says:
Dignify those who are down on their luck;
you’ll feel good—that’s what God does.
Luke 14:12-14 says:
12-14 Then Jesus turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbours, the kind of people who will return the favour. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favour, but the favour will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”
We are called to advocacy. We all know that there is a highly uneven distribution of opportunity and resources.
Proverbs 14:20 says:
The poor are shunned even by their neighbours,
but the rich have many friends.
Being born into privilege automatically brings friends and connections with people who have power or influence, who can advocate for us or offer advice.
We acknowledge that we are called to make a measurable difference in the lives of the poor, leveraging our privilege to meet individual needs and empower people towards self-sufficiency as well as challenging unjust systems and structures that disadvantage certain groups.
What privileges do I enjoy? What opportunities and resources have been made available to me in the course of my life?
Lord show us how we should use our privileges for the sake of others.
(influenced by Jill Weber – Lectio 365)
Mary’s Meals was founded in 2002 when Magnus McFarlane Barrow visited Malawi during a famine and met a mother dying from AIDS. When Magnus asked her eldest son Edward what his dreams were in life, he replied simply: “I want to have enough food to eat and to go to school one day.
Magnus realised that by providing a meal a day in a place of education, several problems were solved at once: Children could attend school and become literate as parents would not need them to beg or work in order to be fed, children who attended school would be able to concentrate through lack of hunger and attend more regularly due to better health and strength, local peasant farmers could thrive by being the ones that Mary’s Meals bought staple food from and a generation of children would have a better chance to raise themselves and even their country out of poverty… Mary’s Meals began in Malawi, feeding 200 children.
The charity is named in honour of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who brought up her own child in poverty.
By 2010, eight years later, 400,000 children were receiving Mary’s meal in a place of education every day. In 2015 one million children were being fed each day. By 2021 the numbers exceeded 2 million.
Today, 2,538,918 hungry children are fed by Mary’s Meals every school day across 18 countries. Impressively, for ANY charity, 93.8% of donations are spent on their charitable activities.
It costs just £19.15 to feed a child for a whole year.
Between us, we will invite at least two children to our table tonight – and for the next year. I will round up whatever contributions there are this evening.
For those interested, the brilliant book ‘The Shed that fed a million children’ has been updated. And the moving ‘Child 31’ film is still available on Youtube in its shortened 30-minute form.
Let us give thanks for the privileges we enjoy and the call to give to those who do not have these things. Let us give thanks and pray for the continuing work of Mary’s Meals, and let us give thanks for this food and each other. Amen.
It was a very good evening together, as always, and we are glad that 3 more children will be fed in a place of education in the coming year from our table, as it were.