sending the rich away empty

This past couple of weeks or so I’ve been straining against the confines of my ‘diet‘ – perhaps more so because the end is closer than it has been for ages (what a surprise).  At home it is fairly easy to adapt, once you’ve changed around your store cupboard and learned alternative recipes, but a diet that is both yeast free and dairy free is a challenge when out at an event or visiting someone.  Sorry, no, I can’t have that.  No, sorry, I can’t have that either.  It can actually get rather awkward. Plus I end up sitting around with my tummy rumbling and my waistband getting so loose you could perch a sizeable kitten in it (not that I’d want to).

Coincidentally, the ‘end’ of this exclusion diet will be around Easter itself – although re-introduction will be deliberately slow.  It will feel like coming to the end to a Lenten fast – except it’s lasted six months instead of 40 days.  It’s not been a fast for that kind of reason, of course, and I shouldn’t tell you if I had been ‘fasting’ in this way.

Interesting tangent – should Christians even ask each other what we’re giving up for Lent?  Didn’t Jesus say we weren’t to draw attention the the fact?  Fascinating to reflect on this, and may consider it at a later date.  In the meantime, I will steer myself back on course, because what I have to say is important (gosh).

Despite not fasting for this kind of reason, nonetheless my diet of denial keeps reminding me of the sheer luxury and amount of our food we have in our culture.  The array of food lined up as refreshments at events, party food, dining out, cookery books and culinary programmes – what new taste can we find?  Who is the best chef, anyway?

We have so much.  As I consider this, the words from Mary’s song leap into my mind –

He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. – Luke 1:53

That’s God’s way; that’s good news. His is the way we don’t expect, defying predictability, turning everything around.

We are so rich.  Many have no choice as to what they eat – or even if they eat.  Rumbly tummies and minor hunger pangs are nothing compared to the sufferings of those who struggle to eat once a day.  Are we, as the body of Christ, as representatives of the good news, enacting the kingdom principles of the first being last, of the poor being blessed, of the hungry being filled?

Last week I attended a public talk at which I heard the following statistic. I wrote it down and stared at it, underlining it as if I needed convincing further.

Annually, 850 million people suffer from being malnourished, while 1 billion are clinically ill from obesity. 

The extreme is gut-wrenching.

  • He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
  • 850 million people suffer from being malnourished, while 1 billion are clinically ill from obesity. 

Everything is the wrong way round when compared to the pattern of the kingdom.  And we cannot escape it; we cannot profess ignorance.  In a culture where our communities are vast and our networks worldwide, can we really exist in our little bubble of plenty and assume we’ll get a pat on the back and a smile?

My disappointment at not being able to eat a cupcake is laughable.

Image:  BBC Good Food website

2 thoughts on “sending the rich away empty

  1. Colin says:

    Hello Lucy, this time last year I was privileged to be able to spend 4 days on Mount Athos with the Orthodox monks. They are vegetarian, eat only twice a day and once on fast days which are Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Their diet is vegan during the 4 Orthodox fasting seasons. That was a big challenge to me. It has been establised that the Mount Athos monks' diet is one of the healthiest in the world. I'd left my wife and her sister luxuriating at a 5 star resort not far from Thessaloniki while I was on my pilgrimage to Mount Athos. When I returned to the resort, I found myself horrified and disgusted at the amount of food people were eating, piling up the food on their plates and going back for even more. I felt ashamed, and since then I can't help noticing, wherever I go how many obese people there are. My relationship with food has changed dramatically now. The statistic you quote shows that I'm not imagining it when I see all those obese people. Thank you.


  2. Lucy Mills says:

    Hi Colin Thank you, for such a thought-provoking comment. It shows how 'accustomed' we can get to certain lifestyles and their extremes, until we are removed from them for a while.


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