No prayers for business and media

20130502-214236.jpg

Tonight, my church was a host site for a National Day of Prayer service. I was asked to participate by leading the congregation in prayer for business and media.

If you’ve never been to a service like this, the format has someone lead prayers for five areas, education, business and media, military and government, families and the church. After the initial prayer is said, anyone from the congregation is welcome to pray aloud as they felt led.

Each area had many people chime in their prayers except business and media. And I’m pretty sure it’s not because my prayer was so good that I covered it all.

Why?

Without a thriving business community our families are without the means to support themselves. Taxes cannot be paid to provide a quality education for our children, or support the government and military. Without a free and impartial media we cannot know the truth about our elected officials and military. Or know when a business has cheated it’s customers or employees.

I’m honored to be able to pray for businesses and for my many friends in the media. They face a tough economy and changing landscape to disseminate the new and yet they keep going.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Feasting and Hunger

$1 = 3 meals

by Alys Drake

This week will be a week of celebration. Holy Week for Christian families and Passover for Jewish families.

At my home, we will celebrate Easter this Sunday with a lot of food. Ham, beans, barbecue ribs, slaw, potato salads, regular salads, rich desserts, and wine will all grace our overflowing table.

We do not know hunger in this house. And it’s a safe bet that if you are reading this post, you don’t know hunger either. However, in the Mid-South, nearly 23% of children are food insecure. Seniors are the fastest growing food insecure group; 19,000 seniors are currently served by various agencies in the Memphis area and The Mid-South Food Bank anticipates that number to grow to over 30,000 in the next few years.

My husband and I are reading the Bible in chronological order with our Sunday school class at Christ United Methodist Church. Just this past week we were in Deuteronomy. These particular passages are frankly a little tedious to read. Moses is preparing the Israelites for their new lives in the Promised Land by reminding them of God’s commands and it gets a little repetitive.

But one passage stood out to me. It was Deuteronomy 24:19-21. In this passage, the Israelites are commanded not to harvest everything in their fields. They are to leave a few sheaves, olives, and grapes behind for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. These are the people who lived in poverty. Today, we have no such safety net for the poor.

On March 29, the #MemFood13 Good Friday Food Drive will take place. You can help provide a safety net those in need by taking your nonperishable food donations to Easy Way, 814 Mt. Moriah, First State Bank at 5384 Poplar Ave; Ste 200 (Inside the Hobson Building across from Mercedes Benz of Memphis) and 3607 South Houston Levee Road in Collierville.

An even easier way to help is to make an online donation. Every dollar donated buys three meals for Mid-South families.

Happy Easter and Chag Pesach Sameach!

Google

Turn Hunger Into Hope

No one should go hungry.

This Easter weekend means many things to my family. We will go to church Sunday morning and then come home to prepare for our family Easter dinner. The fact that it is also Sunday at the Masters makes the day even more special for us.

I’ve been cleaning the house, fussing at my children about them leaving their stuff all over the place and instructing my husband on the things he needs to do to prepare.

One thing we will not have to worry about is food. I picked up a ham and some casseroles, my in-laws are bringing barbeque with all the trimmings and my husband’s brother will bring dessert. I will even make pimento cheese sandwiches in honor of The Masters.

Not everyone is as fortunate as we are. Or you.

Many struggle to put even a simple meal of peanut butter sandwiches on the table for their families and that’s just not right. We who have plenty and should be able to help those who do not.

The Mid-South Food Bank stands in the gap for those facing hunger but today, their cupboards are bare.

My dear friend, Amy Howell, heard about this need, as as she is apt to do, she swung into action. Within 12 hours, her passionate leadership inspired people like Claire Hick to step in and get a TV news story and a newspaper article. Hundreds of tweets have been tweeted with the hashtag #memfood and the Howell Team put together an eblast alerting our professional contacts was sent, even on a day off.

More is coming, but more is needed. Join us and bring a donation by the Howell Marketing offices. Food donations are welcome but monetary donations will go further. Every dollar you give to the Food Bank will allow them to buy $4 worth of nutritious food. And for the rest of April, your donations go even farther, thanks to the Feinstein Challenge.

If your Easter or Passover weekend has been filled with abundance, take a minute and go to the Mid-South Food Bank website and make a donation.

No one should go hungry.

Death, social media and sustainment

A young man died today. I didn’t know him. I should know his parents. They go to my church, we are members of the same social club, we have both been on the Emmaus Walk and have many mutual friends but somehow I never really got to know more than their names.

However, I knew on Friday about their son’s tragic diving accident that happened that day. Mutual friends on Facebook posted prayer requests for him. I was struck by the accident as I also have a college age child.

So, it was no surprise to me when our minister, Shane Stanford, asked our congregation to “lay on hands” for this family, in a virtual way since they were in Pensacola, FL with their son in the hospital.

It was a beautiful sight to see nearly 1000 people with hands lifted high in prayer for people some knew and who some did not. I feel blessed to have been a part of that.

Social media played a huge part in disseminating the information about this event. Facebook and CaringBridge allowed this family to share their shock, dis-belief and grief. They also were able to feel in a real way the love of friends and strangers. This young man’s mother posted that they had read every Facebook post and comment on CaringBridge, and she shared that reading these stories helped to sustain her.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m wasting my time by engaging on social media sites. This is not one of those times.

Image