Sunday, January 20, 2008. 10 AM
Hunger and the Thirst for Righteousness
Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III hosts a truly international agent for change, Ambassador Tony Hall, in a discussion about world hunger.
Years ago, Hall was a state official in Ohio (and not a person of faith) when he attended a prayer breakfast, admittedly to meet constituents. At that meeting, Charles Colson, who founded a prison ministry in the aftermath of his Watergate conviction, delivered a message that inspired Hall to consider Christianity more seriously. After Hall was elected to the U.S. Congress, he began to attend weekly prayer sessions organized by and for Congress members. Hall became a Christian. His friend, Rep. Frank Wolf, encouraged and challenged Hall to bring his faith into his work, but Hall hesitated to proselytize.
Then Hall traveled to Ethiopia during a time of famine.
One day I remember walking 50,000 people had been walking across this plateau. They had heard that there was going to be food at this site, and they just had to get there, and some had been walking over a hundred miles, and they had sold everything to get there. And to make a long story short, when they got there, there was nobody there to feed them. There were no blankets, there was no water, there was no food.
I began to hear this moaning I began to see children just fall away from their mothers, just plop down and die, Hall recollects. I never got over that.
I came home thinking, this is what I can do in Congress. I have found the way I can bring God into my workplace without preaching about him, Hall says. Since that time, Hall has witnessed hunger around the world, seeking to shed light on the problem and bring about public action. He talks of seeing people in North Korea cook and eat grass to make hunger pangs go away momentarily, even though the grass will make them ill.
Hall himself fasted unto God as a protest against Congress itself, when funding of his committee against hunger was cut. Students in a Roman Catholic high school in his congressional district learned of the fast and decided to fast along with Hall. Word spread. As a result of the fast, the World Bank committed hundreds of millions of dollars to alleviate poverty through micro-credit and other means.
To address the problem of hunger, whats possible for our country and whats possible for us? asks Dean Lloyd. Hall notes that 37 million people in this country that go to bed hungry two or three times each month. He keeps as a watchword the advice of Mother Teresa of Calcutta: Do the thing thats in front of you. Hall asserts, If we all did that, wed solve most of the problems when it comes to poverty.