This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Supporting life during Lent

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? — 1 John 3:17 (NLT)

I’ve always found it hard to read this kind of text, and found it equally difficult to get through an Associated Press article on current victims of famine in eastern Africa, and especially in Somalia. An excerpt:

Her eyes glued to the feeble movements of her malnourished baby with protruding ribs and sunken eyes, Fadumo Abdi Ibrahim struggled to hold back her tears in the stifling and crowded feeding center in Somalia’s capitol. She waved a scrap of fabric over him to crate a current of air.

Fadumo, along with other families in parched rural Somalia, had hiked all day and all night without food or water to find food and water in their increasingly desperate plight. On their way they found several bodies of children left along the road by mothers too weak to carry their corpses.

Roughly half of Somalia’s 10 million people are experiencing severe food shortages, according to this piece, due to a lack of rain for three seasons in a row. The resources of neighboring countries are likewise being strained as they take in the increased numbers of refugees created by famine and war.

All of us who profess to be pro-life need to demonstrate a willingness to make major lifestyle changes to help our fellow human beings in situations like these. Pretending to be helpless in the face of a crisis this overwhelming will simply not serve as an acceptable excuse. For example:

  1. We can and must give extravagantly.
  2. We can radically reduce our consumption of meat and our overuse of carbon fuels that contribute to climate change.
  3. We can help stop the ongoing destruction of Amazon rainforests that adversely affects the world’s weather.
  4. We must urge our nation to stop adding billions to a “defense budget” capable of killing ever more people while people are dying from lack of food and shelter.

We’re in the season of Lent. What an excellent time to engage in practices that promote life and well-being for all!

Harvey Yoder is an ordained pastor and member of Family of Hope, a small Virginia Mennonite Conference house church congregation. He blogs at Harvspot, where this first appeared.

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