Let Them Eat Cake
January 11th, 2008 by Sonja

Homeless Kenyan Man

I ended yesterday’s post wondering if it really matters and I quoted “Crumbs From Your Table” – a song by U2. If you click that link there, you can listen along as you read the lyrics below:

From the brightest star
Comes the blackest hole
You had so much to offer
Why did you offer your soul?
I was there for you baby
When you needed my help
Would you deny for others
What you demand for yourself?

Cool down mama, cool off
Cool down mama, cool off

You speak of signs and wonders
I need something other
I would believe if I was able
But I’m waiting on the crumbs from your table

You were pretty as a picture
It was all there to see
Then your face caught up with your psychology
With a mouth full of teeth
You ate all your friends
And you broke every heart thinking every heart mends

You speak of signs and wonders
But I need something other
I would believe if I was able
But I’m waiting on the crumbs from your table

Where you live should not decide
Whether you live or whether you die
Three to a bed
Sister Ann, she said
Dignity passes by

And you speak of signs and wonders
But I need something other
I would believe if I was able
I’m waiting on the crumbs from your table

So why should any of us care what happens in Kenya, or any of the African nations? Or the Middle East? Or Asia? Or anywhere but our little neighborhood for that matter? What does it matter to us? I can think of a million different answers to those questions. I think they’re different for different people. But I’m interested in answering them from the perspective of a Jesus follower. Why do I care? Why is it important for someone who follows Jesus to care what happens in the lives of people half-way around the world?

There are still numerous answers to that question. There is, of course, the idea of bringing aid to orphans and widows. Then there is the idea that we must succor the least of these brothers and sisters in the name of Jesus for in so doing we are aiding Him. Those are valid and indeed wonderful reasons for caring about people in the name of Jesus.

I think though, there is a larger reason we need to care. Jesus talked about bringing His Kingdom to pass. He talked about it being here all around us and being not yet. He said when it came to be the deaf would hear, the blind would see, prisoners would be free and the lame would leap for joy. He also said it was here … right now. He said that if we have faith that is the size of a mustard seed we could move a mountain into the sea. We could also bring sight to the blind and sound to the deaf and freedom to the captives … that in our presence the lame would leap for joy! Indeed, this is his Good News that we call the Gospel.

We also call it hope. It is hope for a better world, a better place and a better time. It is hope that my children and their children will play together and that the content of their character will count for more than the color of their skin (MLK, Jr.). It is hope that where you live will not determine the time of your death (Bono). Because in the now, those things are true and yet not true. In the not yet of God’s Kingdom towards which we strive, they will not be true at all … and that is the hope which we extend and push forward.

In caring we become ambassadors of hope. In hope there is reconciliation. Where there is not hope, there cannot be peace. When hope has died, neighbors war with neighbors and burn houses to the ground. When the truth of Love has been extinguished, fighting and war breaks out. No one can love their neighbor when hope has left the building.

We see this time and again throughout history. Marie Antoinette was famously misquoted as saying to the French peasants, “Let them eat cake.” It was a royal solution to a bread shortage. The shortage was not of bread, but of wheat. The royals did not feel the pinch or lack, but the poor did. Poor Antoinette had no clue. Her cloistered, pampered life ill-prepared her for the storms that came her way. She loved her country and her people, but could not give them any hope. The Jacobins and other forces at play in the French Revolution tore at the fabric of hope in the lives of the people.

In India the reverse happened. Gandhi was determined that independence from British rule could be gained without resorting to violence. Instead of tearing hope away from the poorest of the poor, he restored it. The more real hope he gave them that they could be honestly independent, the stronger and more united the Indians became. Yes, there was violence, but the Indians were not fighting amongst themselves … until later (but that’s another story).

Kenya (and Uganda, Somalia, Sudan and the list goes on) is important because we Jesus-followers are to be ambassadors of hope. We must restore hope to the little people. It is the poor who are fighting and dying. It is the little people, the poor, who are hurting and crying. The rich all around the world continue to eat cake; while the poor have no bread. If we are ambassadors of God’s Kingdom in the here and for the not yet, we must bring hope. We must restore sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, freedom to the captives and cause the lame to leap for joy. It is hope, and that hope alone which will restore peace to the country and allow her people to live in harmony with one another; neighbor helping neighbor to overcome the odds.

Restoring Hope:

Christian Mission Aid

OneWorld.net – Kenya … learn more about Kenya overall, follow links and become an expert!

Avaaz.org – send an e-mail that encourages your foreign minister (US Secretary of State) to put pressure on all parties in the conflict to continue mediation.

Global Partners – invest in Kenya’s future: women and children

WorkNets-Help Kenyans – direct connections with Kenyans on the ground during the crisis. I can’t vouch for any of these people or this site, but it looked interesting. Apparently Kenyans can trade phone credits for food?

Amani Ya Juu – a womens cooperative dedicated to peace and hope in Nairobi (here’s where you can donate to help the women in the current crisis)

Restoring Relationship:

The Walrus Blog (ht Achievable Ends)
Mentalacrobatics (ht Waving or Drowning)
KenyaUnlimited Blogs Aggregator

8 Responses  
  • cindy writes:
    January 11th, 200810:05 amat

    Sonja, your words aren’t going unheeded! Thank you for all the work you’ve done to help us be mindful and to correctly understand the situation in Kenya. It’s about being neighbors in the world and it has to be vitally important to all of us.

  • steve murray writes:
    January 11th, 20083:54 pmat

    Great artical
    your position reminds of Brian Mclarens latest book “Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope” its a must read and timely

  • Lori writes:
    January 11th, 20086:24 pmat

    Thank you for this, and the other posts. It is strange that Britney’s lastest melt down is getting more coverage than this story. There is something screwy in our society!

  • kievasfargo writes:
    January 11th, 20089:46 pmat

    Thank you.

  • Paul writes:
    January 12th, 20082:59 pmat

    who is my neighbour? said the white western male. well said Jesus let me tell you a story…

  • Tia Lynn writes:
    January 12th, 20088:24 pmat

    This is an excellent post. Bono sure knows how to craft lyrics to pierce the heart and reveal our own subtle hypocrisies, huh? Over on my site, I have a great speech posted by Bono from the National Prayer Breakfast in 2006. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. I have never been so convicted in all my life…. http://abandonimage.blogspot.com/2007/04/bono-preek.html

    Thank you for using your voice to speak on behalf of the world’s poorest people. I wish more Christians would do this, although they might be too busy making sure gays aren’t marrying on a beach somewhere….Prioritize people! :)

  • (Un)Conditional Love? (part 2 in my series) writes:
    January 13th, 20084:25 pmat

    […] other day I wrote about hope being necessary to the process of peace in Kenya and many other “hot spots” world wide. But I’m beginning to wonder … I […]

  • Melissa writes:
    November 20th, 200912:02 amat

    what cakes do youze eat thakes

    love Melissa

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