Internationals Ministries

I Stand Convicted by Shoes, Bread and Hands

Red Shoes with Gold Veneer by artist Zehra COBANLI

Recently I attended an Anatolian ceramic art exhibit sponsored by the Turkish Consulate. Three works captivated my attention….a part of ceramic shoes, pieces of ceramic bread, and a group of ceramic hands.

I was drawn to the red ceramic shoes with gold veneer. My daughter loves shoes and thinks of them as art, so of course I had to have a look. The artist stated that shoes are a symbol of freedom. When one is fed up she can simply get up and leave. The red symbolized power. The gold symbolized hope and a future. I couldn’t help but think of the many people worldwide who have no shoes, both literally and figuratively. I thought and then I simply walked away in my own new shoes to the next exhibit.

I actually viewed the bread first. I confess. I saw it and I knew before I read a word that it referred to hunger. And I thought, “Really? Tonight? I just want to enjoy the exhibit. Not worry about world hunger.”  Then I read the Anatolian proverb, “You cannot sleep while your neighbor is suffering from hunger!” Ouch…..

The group of hands fascinated me. My good missionary thought was of hands reaching out for help. Then I read the artist’s statement, “Hands, They should risen, They have beaten the bushes over the years, Now they will eat their own harvests, Together with the endeavouring people…” These were not hands looking for a hand out. These were harvesting hands.

Shoes that lead to freedom. Shared bread that ends hunger. Hands working together towards harvest. Refugees, trafficking victims, exploited peoples of all sorts need these shoes. Yet, most are barefoot.  I slept last night while my neighbor went hungry.  And then the hands…..I had to ask myself, “Are my hands a part of these working together with those who are endeavoring?”

As a follower of Jesus, I should be about equipping the powerless with red and gold ceramic shoes. I should be about sharing my bread. And my hands should be not just a part of the harvest, but of the work that went into the harvest.

(This post originally ran on the ABPnews Blog.)

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