Birmingham MethSoc Food Exchange Program

“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ ” – Matthew 21: 12-13 (NIV)

Turning the tables

I’m sure that to many of you this reading is very familiar, and it is one of my favourites.  I love this reading because Jesus does the opposite of what we expect him to do.  He goes into the temple and turns over the tables of the money lenders.

By doing this, he commits an act of physical protest at the exploitation of the poor in his fathers house.  This reading shows that when we ask the question: “what would Jesus do?” we can legitimately answer: get angry and turn over the tables in the temple.

This portrayal of Jesus is the one I identify most with: the Jesus who is frustrated by the status quo, who wants to change it but can’t see the best way to achieve it.

Tackling injustice

Birmingham Methsoc Food Exchange Peacemeal

Currently, what makes me angry are sandwiches. Hundreds of sandwiches every day go past their sell by date and are destined for the bin.  This is a crazy injustice and it makes me frustrated and angry that I live in a society where the wasting of food is acceptable while so many people go hungry.

This frustration and anger must be transformed into a motivating passion, a passion and a vision to change the world.

Through little acts of kindness or big acts of advocacy we can change the world to be a reflection of his glory. But we shouldn’t be afraid to start this change with anger. This anger and passion should make us jump off the fence we all too often sit on, and into action.

Let this anger and passion make us jump into the complicated and messy world in which we live.  Jesus in this passage not only created a literal mess, he got down and dirty and made a stand, in the complicated and fractured society in which he found himself.

The Food Exchange

In the case of the sandwiches, we started what we now call the UoB Methsoc Food Exchange Program.  The sandwiches which were going to be thrown away from various food outlets on campus are now collected by us, and taken to a soup kitchen in the centre of Birmingham.

I feel that by saving these sandwiches and giving them to those who need them most we are, in a small way, shining God’s light and glory into the darkness of food waste and poverty in the UK.

As followers of Jesus, we should be the counter culture that Jesus led.  We should be the radicals, the misfits, the frustrated, the passionate, the rule breakers and the table turners.  We need to use our anger at injustice to motivate us to create a world and a church which reflects the glory of God.

Thanks to Rachel Allison from the University of Birmingham Methodist Society for this story.

More about the UoB MethSoc Food Exchange

If you want to find out more about the Food Exchange program and perhaps get involved, go to the  Birmingham MethSoc Facebook page for more information.

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