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21 June 2013

Imagine if

Imagine if

Earlier this week, the leaders of eight of the wealthiest countries in the world were holed up in a conference room in a remote area of Northern Ireland, munching on chocolate biscuits and having a brainstorm about how to end world hunger for good.

Hard to believe, isn't it? In the 21st century, the very fact that one in eight people go to bed hungry even though there is enough food for everyone is just scandalous. We're surrounded by choice, and yet for millions of people - even in those eight wealthy countries - it's a struggle to put food on the table.

Tax avoidance, climate change, land grabs - they all contribute to this outrageous injustice. And that is why this week, it was firmly on the G8's agenda and some major decisions were made.

The Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign - a mighty coalition of more than 200 charities and churches including Tearfund - have been working long and hard for months to make sure it was on the agenda. Hundreds of thousands of people showed their support and came together with one voice to urge the prime minister to steer the G8 toward firm and tangible decisions that will see hunger eradicated in our lifetimes.

It's not impossible. Let's just think about the loaves and the fishes for a moment - everyone thought there wasn't enough for everyone, but we all know there was more than enough to go round. The disciples did not give any more to one person than they did another; every man, woman and child was treated equally and 'all were satisfied'.

God has provided, there is enough for everyone, but it is our broken systems and our failure to share as God intends that mean people are not getting their daily bread. This meeting of the G8 is an opportunity for us to get back to the image painted in the Bible of the fair and just world God intended for all of us.

The local Church has been vital in this campaign - standing up for our brothers and sisters, being a voice for the voiceless and working towards that heavenly vision of equality and provision. The Church brings prayer - something that others do not - and it's been wonderful to see the Church speaking out against hunger and for justice. We have a generous God who cares about all the people He made, even those we tend to put at the back of the queue. We need to hold the G8 to their pledge, and keep praying and campaigning for those people.

Just imagine what could happen because of what was discussed in that room in Northern Ireland. In years to come, could we really look back on 2013 as the beginning of the end of hunger? Could children learn about it in their history classes? What will we tell our grandchildren about growing up in a world where people used to be hungry? We can be part of the generation to see the end of hunger, if we continue to act and pray. 

Hunger Museum video - Tearfund IF campaign

David Westlake is Integral Mission director at Tearfund and a leader of Soul Action and Cinnamon Network.