Ps. Michelle Nunn
LENT REFLECTION - DAY 2
I wasn't in church long on Monday morning before someone burst into my office to let me know there was an apparent cucumber shortage in Nantwich. Later the national news would confirm that it was not just a Nantwich shortage but nationwide one, and worse still, tomatoes were now scarce and being rationed too. Visiting one of our supermarkets yesterday I managed to get a cucumber, but no tomatoes, and heard the staff explain that the media coverage had added to the problem as people had rushed out to buy them and cleared the shelves. This of course brought back vivid memories of the many shortages we experienced in the lockdowns of 2020/1. I remember a funny moment in our biggest supermarket where I happened upon the empty pasta aisle at the exact same moment as a friend. Thankfully a friendly face defused any angst and we laughed glad to see one another as we reconfigured the week's family diners. Scarcity has its serious side, it's not pleasant to face lack and rationing. It can cause anxiety and fear, as well as bringing out the more selfish and less generous aspects of human nature. In the early 2000's there was a petrol shortage due to blockades here in the UK. In those days I commuted to Birmingham and there was no option for home working. I remember hunting down a petrol station with some fuel in a rural village off of my normal route and filling up. Phew, I thought, at least I could get to work the next couple of days, no need to use up precious annual leave. Alas, when I went to the car the following morning, my petrol tank had been broken into and all but the last dregs syphoned off. The word scarcity appears in the NLT Bible first in Proverbs 6:10-11 in the warnings against laziness and folly and then in Proverbs 24: 33-34, where it is repeated word for word.
" A little extra sleep, little more slumber, a little folding of hands to rest - then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber."
Proverbs 6:10-11 NLT
How truthfully these words reflect the power of poverty personified as an overwhelming enemy that roughs us up, stealing what we have and need. Sadly, in the UK today it is not only the lazy or foolish who face scarcity, we have a new working poor. Increasingly, working people rely on food banks and other charitable support to simply survive and get by. In lent we often give something up, like chocolate, fasting for 40 days. As well as fasting why not consider giving more generously than you do normally, sharing what you have with those in need. An easy way to give is to bring something on Sunday morning to our drop off point for our local Foodbank. The Foodbank have shared that they are short of long life fruit juice, shaving gel and disposable razors, and men and women's deodorants, as well as other non perishable foods that require little cooking (power is expensive) and make up a good meal. They are also short of drivers and people to deliver, so if you have some time and can drive, lift or carry, why not consider helping those in need this meaningful way. Whatever you decide to do, I pray you'll be a blessing and be blessed in the giving. Lent Prayer Father God, we acknowledge today that a little bit of scarcity helps us to understand better what it means to have less than we need. We thank-you that our shortage of fruit and veg will be overcome in the days ahead and we thank-you for the plentiful foods available to us. We recognise that poverty is an awful condition, that impacts us body, mind and spirit. We ask that you would help us to recognise those in need, and where our generousity can make a meaningful difference. Help us to give beyond our ease and comfort, in faith, as an act of charity and worship. May our giving bless people in need and honour You. Amen.