Brothers and sisters,
This past Sunday, I participated in my very first Durham CROP Hunger Walk! To say that I had a good time would be an understatement! It was a wonderful opportunity to get to go out and be a part of the wider Durham community as we came together to do our part to fight against hunger. There were hundreds of people there, all decked out in our CROP Walk swag. And, ac-cording to the CROP Walk website, they raised just under $125,000 to help fight hunger here locally and abroad.
What I appreciated most about the whole experience was the diversity of people, events, and education all around me. There were bands that played for us. There were dancers who performed. We were led through a stretching routine that reminded me of some of the dance moves from last year’s Vacation Bible School. I saw friends from seminary that I hadn’t caught up with in years. And, if I’m being honest, even a Tar Heel like me looked up at Duke Chapel and the flowers in bloom around it and thought, “Yeah, this place is kind of pretty, I guess.” And when we finally did start walking, it all reminded me of Holy Week.
CROP Walk happens on Palm Sunday, the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem for the final time. He came in to shouts of, “Hosanna,” and palms waving be-fore him. The people around him were filled with hope for what they thought he was going to do. And they were right to have hope, but Jesus was facing down a different enemy than they’d originally thought he would. Jesus rode into Jerusalem that day knowing full well that his week was going to end with a cross. He knew that at his last supper with his disciples, one of them would slip out to betray him. There were so many reasons for Jesus to stop walking. So many reasons for him to say, “How can anyone beat the power of sin? How can anyone conquer death?” But he kept walking.
In a similar way, we walked on Sunday knowing full well that we would not be able to defeat hunger on that one day. There will, most likely, al-ways be hungry people in our society. And there will, most likely, always be systems and structures that make it difficult for people to consistently feed themselves and their families. There are plenty of reasons to stop walking each year to end hunger. But there is always one reason to keep going—hope. We walked to raise money. We walked to raise awareness. We walked to make sure those who go hungry in our city and in our world do not go unseen. Christ walked into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday knowing that a cross await-ed him, but believing that there was life and hope on the other side. We walked on Sunday knowing that there would still be hungry people, but believing that if we keep walking, keep believing, keep hoping, that one day we might just see an end to hunger. That feels like an Easter message to me.
So, Palm Sunday next year is March 24—save the date!
Grace and peace,