Thousands of Christians across the world have been joining a “Fast for Life” to reflect on their own consumption and commit to doing what they can to contribute to global food security.
The initiative has been promoted and coordinated by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) - an international network of over 90 churches and Christian organisations cooperating in advocacy on global trade and on HIV and AIDS, in particular.
More than one billion people are suffering from hunger around the world.
EAA (http://www.e-alliance.ch) says: "Despite the goodness and bounty of God’s gifts to us in creation, so many people experience scarcity: famine, hunger, deprivation and want. At the same time, there are people in all parts of the world who suffer the effects of 'too much': too much salt, sugar, fat, calories."
The "Fast for Life" network adds: "These are all dimensions of the unsustainable consumption of food. Our individual decisions, as well as collective ones, have increased the divide between the haves and the have nots. As a global society, our sense of balance and right relations is further strained."
Through the event, churches, Christian organisations and people of faith around the world have been joining in prayer and fasting on Ash Wednesday, 17 February 2010 and reflecting on the numbers of hungry people and the human suffering behind those numbers.
Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance and it marks the beginning of Lent. Ashes were used in ancient times, according to the Bible, to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent's way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults.
EAA points out that the Lent season is an opportunity to fast from food, fossil fuels and over-consumption as both a practical and symbolic gesture of support for people living with hunger and malnourishment.
Other ideas promoted through "Fast for Life" include fasting from over-consumption by leaving your wallet at home and committing to ‘buy nothing‘ on particular days in Lent, and organising worship services to reflect on the inequalities that allow for hunger and over-consumption in this world.