Lent Project -4: Hunger

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I don’t need a pot of honey, I’d be grateful for a plateful.
When I’m rumbly in my tumbly, then it’s time to eat!

— Winnie the Pooh

I read an article recently about how hunger isn’t as easy to identify as Winnie the Pooh would have us believe. There are a whole bunch of types of hunger, and if you can’t tell them apart, you’ll forever be trying to find something to shove into your gob. Do you know how to tell the difference between real hunger and… could you even name another type, nevermind tell the difference?

Physical hunger is when there’s something going on in your body that tells you it’s time to eat. Your mouth hunger wants to be stimulated by a *specific food*, cellular hunger is the difference between being fed and being fueled. Sense hunger can happen when you smell fresh bread or when you see a display of chocolate covered strawberries or hear popcorn popping. Learned hunger can happen when you encounter at “time to eat” trigger – it’s noon, so that means it’s lunch, or it’s Sunday, so that means Eggs Benny – whether you’re physically hungry or not. And that big jerk, emotional hunger – which is about feeding your feelings, not your body. And then there’s soul hunger. We’ve all heard of soul food – that’s what satisfies soul hunger. You satisfy your stomach, fuel your body and your mouth, appeals to your senses and leaves you feeling good (not guilty or wanting more).

But even beyond these things, you can hunger for the closeness that you’re not getting because COVID-19 is an even bigger jerk than Emotional hunger. You can hunger for victory, success, adventure, knowledge…

And you can be hungry for God. One of my favourite praise songs is Breathe by Michael W. Smith. In the live version he posits “How many of you are hungry for God?” And the crowd erupts in applause. Oh, man. I love that song. I mean RC Kids do believe in God providing our Daily Bread – it’s in one of the Big Prayers – Our Father… give us this day our daily bread. I feel like sometimes, we’ve said it so often, for so many years, we just drone the words of prayers on autopilot.

Thinking about hunger during the season of Carnival might seem poorly timed, since carnival is marked by excess and overindulgence. Perhaps this is the best time to think about what real hunger looks like. When better to consider the Giving of the Fast-Pray-Give Lent trifecta to help address hunger in my community? And when better to look at what I’m doing to address the types of hunger in my own life?

This Lent, I will be mindful of what kind of hunger I feel. I will find ways to alleviate hunger where I encounter it. This Lent, I will hunger for God.

Extra Credit:

How can you stay hungry for God

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