ImageI was catching up on Mad Men episodes and Peggy was making a pitch to the partners about a Fast Food Restaurant. As she pitched she mimicked a little girl saying “I’m Starving.” It caught me off guard because my husband and I have been very intentional about teaching our children not to say “I’m starving”. Some people think this is silly, I think it’s important.

It started something like this, “Mommy, I’m STARVING” my 6 year old would say a half hour before dinner. Or she would wake up in the morning, “I need some breakfast, I’m STARVING”. And yes, the emphasis is on starving every time.

So one day, I asked her to stop.

“Honey, you’re not starving, your just hungry.”

It took a lot of explaining. Hunger is a feeling, your stomach growls, you’ve just come home from school, or up first thing in the morning- it’s “time” to eat.  There are many things that tell you that you are hungry.  When we are babies we cry at the hunger pains, as parents we feed our children, as they grow they get “stuffed” at the table until it’s time for dessert and then suddenly they have room in their tiny tummies.

We are even worse as adults. As Americans we barely even reach the feeling of hunger, it is rare we actually get to the point that our stomach growls, if we haven’t eaten in the last three hours we “need to eat” something as it seems we are depriving ourselves.

So my darling child (and my darling self) you are not starving. You are hungry or something just sounds good to you.

If you have eaten today or yesterday you are not starving, if you have food in your fridge and have access to a meal you are not starving. This is what I teach my children. Maybe it’s just semantics to you, maybe this language doesn’t matter, but it does to me. I do believe that my children will grow up to have a better understanding and more compassion for a world in which children do needlessly starve everyday when there is enough for everyone. The generations before them might be trying, but they might actually be able to do it.

There is enough, I would love to see “starving” go into the same vault as polio and small pox. I would love to see it eradicated, and that starts by teaching the youngest among us what it means that they are privileged to have eaten several times today.

Joseph Prayer Stations

Guest Blogger Today! Ashland‘s intern Katie Jasa put together prayer stations for yesterday’s service and did a great job.  More on the rest of the service soon.  Until then, here are the stations inspired by the Story of Joseph and his family.

Prayer Station #1: Woven Prayer

Location: Communion Table

Our church is woven from all of our lives. Together, our passions and our desires form the material of our community. When we worship, we bring all of ourselves forward to God; our joys, our fears, and our needs.

·      What has happened this week that you want to celebrate?

·      What has happened that you want to mourn?

·      What worries do you carry in your life?

Write a joy or concern to share with the church, and weave it into the communion table loom. Share what you write with someone around you; commit to pray for them this week.


ImageImageThis prayer station was inspired by this blog ( Our station served as a way to have written Prayers of the People. I was surprised how much of the makeshift loom got filled up – there were prayers filling the front and top, and also woven on the back of the communion table.


Prayer Station #2: Food for All

Location: Sanctuary

Hunger continues to be a problem in our world today. Bread for the World estimates that there are 925 million people in the world who don’t have enough food to eat, including 29 million Americans. Think of the people who live far away from good food, and the people who can’t afford healthy food. Look at the pictures taken by Peter Menzel of one week’s worth of groceries for families around the world also take time to read the scriptures throughout the sanctuary.

·      What does it mean to have enough food?

·      What does it look like to be hungry?

·      What does God call us to do about hunger?

Look at the list of products that Sarah’s Hope gives out to their clients. Choose an item to bring next week, and write a reminder for yourself.

ImageThis prayer station included pictures from Peter Menzel and Faith D’Alusio’s book Hungry Planet, which is absolutely fantastic. Hungry Planet has a large variety of photos, so I tried to include families of different sizes and incomes from around the world. The pictures were interspersed with scriptures about hunger and food, both from the Joseph story and elsewhere. Our church has an ongoing mission relationship with Sarah’s Hope, which provides temporary housing for homeless women and children. Having each person read the grocery list for Sarah’s Hope and volunteer to bring food next week helped to bring home the need for food justice in our community.



Prayer Station #3: Coats of Thankfulness

Location: Hallway

Jacob loved his son Joseph, so he gave Joseph a beautiful coat of many colors. Gen. 37:3

·      Who loves you?

·      Who takes care of you?

·      What are the wonderful things that people have done for you?

·      Think of all the people you are grateful for, and of all the gifts they have given you.

Glue pieces of tissue paper onto the picture of a coat, thanking God for something each time. 


ImageThis idea was on several blogs as a Sunday School craft. We printed out a coat outline from here ( and then used the craft as a way to express thankfulness. This station was the only one specifically geared towards children, although we had plenty of children participating in the other stations as well.

 Prayer Station #4: Grains of Life

Location: Sanctuary

When Joseph’s brothers were starving, they went to Egypt to get grain for their families. Today we are nourished not only by food, but also by our faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us in John 6:35 that “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Touch the grain and think about what sustains you in your life.

·      What do you need?

·      Who do you depend on?

·      As you pour the grain into a pouch, reflect on how you are nourished. Take the pouch with you to remind you of Christ’s love.


This station began as a general idea from this blog ( I wanted to have a station about what feeds us emotionally, as well as one that focused on physical hunger in the world. Eventually the ideas about physical hunger became station two, and the grain became a tangible way to remember what nourishes us as individuals. We used a whole-grain hot cereal mix from an organic market.

 Prayer Station #5: Reflections

Location: Classroom #5 (across from restrooms)

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him. Gen. 37:3-4

 Think about the people you are jealous of in your life.

·      What about them makes you envious?

·      Is it a way they act, or things that they have?

·      Write about what makes you jealous.

Look at yourself in a mirror.

·      Where is that jealousy reflected in the way you live?

·      What fears and desires cause it?

·      Write where you see envy in your actions.

As you look at your reflection in the mirror, consider how God sees you. Think about how God sees the real you and loves you, petty thoughts and all. Let go of your jealousies, and accept that you are enough for God.

We wanted this station to focus on jealousy, and to serve as both a confession and a pardon. This post ( had some great ideas about using mirrors to think about God’s love for us, which became part of the stations’ ending. Since this station was one of the most introspective, we put it in a separate classroom.