Will Starve for Food
The 30-Hour Famine has become one of the most significant events in the program year for youth ministry at LPC. Despite a number of schedule conflicts with school events, this year’s participation will be as high as ever with over 125 middle and high school young people and 80+ adult leaders taking part in one way or another. As you look out over the sea of blue t-shirts at Sunday's 9:45 service, you’ll see this year’s “Will Starve for Food” logo along with the now very familiar “30-Hour Clock”
What is it about this strange event that has so captured the imaginations of our young people for over a dozen years now? Why will over 500,000 like-minded teens from the U.S., Canada, and around the world be engaged in their own local versions of the famine this same weekend?
To be sure, there is a lot of fun to be had at a famine. The kids will quit eating at noon today. The time together at the church begins this evening with a photo scavenger hunt around town and there will be plenty of games, singing and times to relate with friends. And, then there is the cardboard shack village. Fellowship Hall will be packed full of appliance box shelters made by the kids and, in theory, they will sleep in those shelters Friday night. The point of the exercise is to create a teachable moment wherein the kids understand that their hut is not much different than what millions in our world call home. Having visited a refugee camp just a couple of weeks ago, I am even more aware of how important the lesson is. But I also understand that it is part of the “fun” of a 30-Hour Famine.
There will be breaks for worship and devotions where many of the kids are reminded of Jesus’ love for the least of his brothers and sisters and where some of the kids will meet this caring Jesus for the first time.
The heart of the famine experience though, is, first, 30 hours of hunger, a physical reminder of the reality of hunger throughout the world, and, second, the Saturday morning experience of hands-on work to help alleviate suffering. Some of our kids will be at soup kitchens and homeless shelters serving the kind of people who would not otherwise enter their safe worlds. Some will be with elderly folks who know a kind of loneliness that is hard for an active teen on a school campus to imagine (and, oh yes, there are many lonely teens!). Others will be doing the thankless behind the scenes work of restocking food pantries and collating intake forms.
And this is the most popular youth event of the year!
Why? Having created the most rushed and overly scheduled generation ever to live, we find our kids thirsty for meaning as well as activity. Having showered our children with every imaginable thing and having giving them lives stuffed with stuff, we find them longing for a purpose in life that you can’t buy at an electronics boutique or on i-Tunes. Having told our teens how special they are and having given them awards and trophies just for showing up (most of the time), they know intuitively that “special” has to be more than an accident of birth and, like iron to a magnet, their hearts are drawn to a Lord who declares them not special, but forgiven.
Pray for Barb Chase and 79 other leaders plus all the kids of the famine. Pray for safety in all we do. Pray that the Lord who is the Bread of Life will become known just a little bit better during those 30 hours of famine.
Will Starve for Food