“God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.’” (Genesis 1:29 NRSV)
As I write this, the earth here in western Virginia is parched, and I am keenly aware of the crunch of the grass under my feet. Other places are experiencing floods. More painful is the knowledge that while I don’t rely on rainfall for daily food, many around the world do depend on what they can grow.
From MCC’s beginning, supporters have cared about providing food and the means to grow it. After the first gifts of bread, tractors were sent to southern Russia (present-day Ukraine). “Seagoing cowboys” accompanied cattle to post-war Europe, in addition to shipments of canned meat. Many agricultural workers served in the 1970s and 1980s.
The needs remain great today. Around the world, we in MCC see communities struggling with hunger. Two of our strategic directions named in 2019 are to work with communities affected by climate change and people displaced from their homes. You’ll read about both in this issue of A Common Place.
Between the bookends of the beauty and abundance of creation described in Genesis and the tree of life that offers fruit to the nations in Revelations, we read the poignant description in Romans 8:22-23 of the whole creation groaning in labor pains, as it awaits redemption. Since sin entered creation, we live in the in between.
But we are part of God’s reconciling work in all of creation, from waterways to human souls.
In spite of the challenges depicted in these pages, this issue also brings hope — and maybe even some smiles. When I visited Haiti in 2017, I was amazed at farmers’ tenacity and creativity in responding to climate challenges. People are working together. Good ideas spread from farmer to farmer. (And you might chuckle as you read about stinky sticky in sub-Saharan Africa.)
Ann Graber Hershberger
MCC U.S. Executive Director