I am happy to write to you on Maundy Thursday, just before Easter weekend. As the CEO of Harvest Hope Food Bank, I thank everyone for their generous support already this year helping us feed the hungry in our community. It is a shame that so many people right here in our neighborhood have to suffer the debilitating effects of hunger. On this Night before Good Friday, I’d like you to think about what this day means to you and what this day means for hungry people in South Carolina.
Evangelical minister Tony Campolo is famous for telling the “It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming” speech. This sermon has been retold many times in many different churches by many different pastors. Here is just a taste, for those of you unfamiliar with the service:
“It was Friday, and my Jesus is dead on a tree. But that’s Friday, and Sunday’s comin’. Friday, Mary’s crying her eyes out; the disciples are running in every direction like sheep without a shepherd. But that’s Friday, and Sunday’s comin’. Friday, some are looking at the world saying, “As things have been, so they shall be. You can’t change anything in this world!” But they don’t know that it’s only Friday, and Sunday’s a comin’. Friday and those forces that oppress the poor and keep people down, those forces that destroy people, the forces in control now, those forces that are gonna rule, they don’t know it’s only Friday, but Sunday’s comin’. Friday, people are saying, “Darkness is gonna rule the world, sadness is gonna be everywhere,” They don’t know it’s only Friday, but Sunday’s a comin’. Even though this world is rotten, as it is right now, we know it’s only Friday. But Sunday’s comin’”
As Christians we see Good Friday as a time to reflect, a time to think about our own struggles and the insignificance of them compared to our Savior who struggled on the Cross. But with his sacrifice, we know that there is hope ahead, there is light that will overcome the darkness. Our God will be resurrected, we will be cleansed of our sins and lightness and goodness will be let back in the world.
For many in our communities, the darkness is overwhelming. Many of these people have never experienced the darkness and uncertainty before this year. Many are husbands and Wives who had beautiful homes, smiling happy children and plenty of food for their table. Now, through the effects of a horrible recession, they have lost their jobs and they are no longer able to provide food for their families and pay a mortgage. Many of our elderly men and women, our parents and grandparents, who have worked hard to one day, be able to retire, have found themselves alone and with little money to buy the necessary food they need after the outrageous prices of medication and doctor’s visits. As for the Children of South Carolina, our precious, innocence future, who are unable to understand the complexities of the economic woes of our country, 1 in 4 of them do understand what it feels like to go to bed hungry. These families, these fellow neighbors and South Carolinians are lost in the darkness, hungry, scared, hopeless and alone.
But truly they are not alone. They do have a savior and hope is coming. At Harvest Hope we are able to provide for our hungry neighbors through our strong Christian community, nonprofit network and through the efforts of hard working individuals who volunteer their time and money. It is through your efforts in our community of giving that we are able to show hungry people even in the darkest hour, that it’s Friday but Sunday is coming.
As Jesus reminds us, it is our duty as Christians to care for all of mankind; “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
We thank you so dearly for helping and supporting us at Harvest Hope Food Bank. Through your many Mobile Food Pantries you have helped so many of our hungry neighbors. You have taken Jesus’ requirements of us as Christians and put them into real action. You are helping a needy community and through doing so are strengthening your church and your individual relationship with Christ.
I hope that all of you take a moment tonight to reflect on your struggles and to know that no matter what crisis you have in your life at this point; no matter how dark it might get—know that you are not alone.
May God Bless you. Remember—that it is only Friday—and Sunday’s coming.
Harvest Hope Food Bank