“We hunger to be known and understood. We hunger to be loved. We hunger to be at peace inside our own skins. We hunger not just to be fed these things but, often without realizing it, we hunger to feed others these things because they too are starving for them. We hunger not just to be loved but to love, not just to be forgiven but to forgive, not just to be known and understood for all the good and bad times that for better or worse have made us who we are, but to know and understand each other to the point of seeing that, in the last analysis, we all have the same good times, the same bad times, and that for every season there is no such thing in all the world as anyone who is really a stranger.”–Frederick Buechner from “Secrets in the Dark”
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of Buechner. My call to ministry, as a Diaconal Minister in the Evangelical Lutheran church in America (ELCA) is best captured in this Buechner quote “The place God calls you to be is the place where the world’s deep hunger and your deep gladness meet.”
Yes, that place where the world’s deep hunger and my deep gladness meet. The thing is, my friends, that hunger is all around us. We all hunger in some way or another. Yes, there are many who literally hunger. God calls us to reach out to them and provide food for them. I am proud of organizations like Backpack Buddies in our community where backpacks are filled with food and given to families who are struggling to get them through the weekend.
I don’t know what it is like to hunger in the way these people do. I have a roof over my head. I have a refrigerator full of food. I have a warm place to lay my head at night. I can go out and buy more food if I need too. So I have never truly experienced hunger in this way, but my friends, we all hunger…
We hunger to find that special person to share life with.
We hunger for peace to be brought about in this world.
We hunger for the end to violence and war.
We hunger to know that there is enough.
We hunger to know that we are enough!
And in that hungering, we begin to truly hear the words from Frederich Buechner because we are truly not alone. We are all alike in many ways. We all have things that we hunger for and need in our lives. We all hunger for God’s love, grace, and forgiveness. And in that promise, we know that we are truly never a lone; that we are truly never strangers.