This weekend I was in Minneapolis for a Twin's game and participated in one of the oddest shopping experiences of my life. My friend Nate and I needed to buy breakfast supplies for a group of students so we set out in search of the ever-illusive supermarket. We were staying in a church in a very ritzy suburb, so I had my doubts as to the type of store we might come upon. My doubts were confirmed.
The only grocery store we could find in the area was called Kowalski's Market. The store was located in a fancy strip mall and the store front looked like it belonged in Stepford. Upon entering we were greeted by a fancy coffee shop, hardwood floors, wooden columns at the end of each aisle, crown molding around the ceiling, and...a fireplace. This grocery store, the usual home to the basic staples of life, was filled with food that most people couldn't afford and would never think of buying unless they desired status and prestige. Needless to say, Nate and I left our cart sitting in the aisle and left the store empty-handed.
I could not believe that our country has reached a point where even groceries become a status symbol and a sign of power and wealth. I was sickened by how this store furthered the gap between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' of our society. We have become a culture of power-mongering people who will even use the basic necessities of life to further our status in society.
I pray that Americans would come to their senses and reform their lifestyles. May we take seriously Jesus' message of sacrifice and service, a downward mobilization toward simplicity. May we remember that whenever Jesus talked about food he either talked of the common elements of the day (bread, fish, and wine) or was inviting to a feast those who had no place being there. May we take more seriously hunger and poverty worldwide than our own pride and arrogance.
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