Friday, December 9, 2016

Food banks

About 10 days ago, I asked that you think about giving to your local foodbank and I am going to make the request again. December is a special month for many of the  worlds faith. The following multicultural events and celebrations are among those that will happen this year:
  • Ramadan (Muslim)
  • Eid al-Fitr (Muslim)
  • Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)
  • Eid'ul-Adha (Muslim)
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
  • St. Lucia Day (Swedish)
  • Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • Christmas Day (Christian)
  • Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian)
  • Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish)
  • Kwanzaa (African American)
  • Omisoka (Japanese)
  • Yule (Pagan)
  • Saturnalia (Pagan)

Many of the faiths have tenants for their followers to help those less fortunate then themselves. So if you are a religious person, or a non-believer with a strong morals perhaps you should consider helping the food bank this year, as part of your celebrations.

Buddhists  believe that there are many things which a person can give. She can give material things: food for the hungry, and money and clothes to the poor. He can also give his knowledge, skill, time, energy or effort to projects that can benefit others. She can provide a sympathetic ear and good counsel to a friend in trouble.  Buddhism views charity as an act to reduce personal greed which is an unwholesome mental state which hinders spiritual progress. A person who is on his way to spiritual growth must try to reduce his own selfishness and her strong desire for acquiring more and more. He should reduce his strong attachment to possessions which, if she is not mindful, can enslave her to greed. What he owns or has should instead be used for the benefit and happiness of others: his loved ones as well as those who need her help.

In the Christian faith, some of the words that prescribe how practitioners can help the needy are:

Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. Matthew 5:42

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35  

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:12-14  

Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.Proverbs 22:9 

In the Hindu religion the Artha Shastras, one of the Hindu scriptures written in 300 BCE by a wise man called Kautilya, gives advice for householders. It says that they should always be generous and hospitable to guests, and no guest should ever be turned away without food. Tradition says that a place at the table should always be left for atithi (the unexpected guest).

One may amass wealth with hundreds of hands but one should also distribute it with thousands of hands. If someone keeps all that he accumulates for himself and does not give it to others the hoarded wealth will eventually prove to be the cause of ruin. Atharva Veda 3: 24-25

In the Muslim faith there are many words that prescribe help to the needy, here are some:

Establish worship, pay the poor-due, and bow your heads with those who bow (in worship). (Translation of Qur'an, 2:43)

Lo! those who believe and do good works and establish worship and pay the poor-due, their reward is with their Lord and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. (2:277)

So give to the kindred his due, and to Al-Miskin (the poor) and to the wayfarer. That is best for those who seek Allah's Countenance, and it is they who will be successful. (30:38)

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