Sunday, 11 April 2021

Jesus Has Changed Everything—a Sermon Preached by Judy Packwood on the Sunday After Easter 2019 in St James Anglican Cathedral, Peace River, Alberta

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (JOHN 20:19-31)

Through the written word, and the spoken word,

may we know your Living Word Jesus Christ our Savour. Amen

Jesus has changed everything. 

Jesus changes everything. Jesus will change everything. The events of two thousand years ago have changed everything, including you and me.  Maybe God loves us?

Christians everywhere, followers of this Jesus who has changed everything, have spent weeks, or was it years? It seems like was a very long time -  plodding through Lent, daily being reminded of how sinful we are, how we make rotten choices and how easily we are diverted to thoughts, words and deeds that grieve our heavenly Father. After the necessary  and helpful somber pilgrimage through Lent, we arrived at Good Friday, where it all got worse, The unthinkable, in human terms, happened. Jesus, the Son of God, the Christ, was crucified, killed.  Good Friday? How can that be? And yet - it is.  Because Jesus died. Because he was killed. And in his dying, changed everything.  

Three days later, on Easter Day, all that misery was replaced with the  celebration of the awesome power of our loving God. Jesus is no longer dead, he is risen, he is alive, God lifted him from death to life. He is no longer in the tomb, without breath, without light, without life. Death, the enemy, the devil, Satan, has been defeated, Is defeated.  And things changed for him too.  The only power he has now is the power we give him when we succumb to his charms, his deceits, his temptations. 

Jesus changed everything for the disciples. 

Isn’t  this a wonderful story in today’s Gospel reading!  Thomas is the one disciple I would really like to meet. He was missing when Jesus first appeared to the other disciples, and so had to hear about the miracle from his companions.  

I wonder what the other disciples said to Thomas beyond the words recorded in this chapter of John.  Did they make themselves out to be super special because they had seen the Lord and Thomas hadn't? I like to think they commiserated with Thomas because he wasn’t there to see Jesus with them.  

They told him we have seen the Lord

What? Really? I don’t believe it. I need proof. I need to see the holes made by the nails, and not just see them, but put my fingers in the holes, touch them. I will not believe unless that happens.

What would be our reaction if someone came into this place and said “I have seen the Lord’?  Would we think him, or her, to be crazy, an attention-seeking delusionist? An interrupter of all that is Anglican, all that is decent and in order? Or would we praise our God for his kindness and goodness and for the great gift he has given the person who says he has seen the Lord. What an amazing thing to experience. Would we be jealous? Would we believe?

Thomas was not there with his fellow disciples when Jesus  came into that room. Jesus knew he wouldn’t be, and still chose that time to appear to the disciples. And when he comes to them again, a week later, when Thomas ispresent, Jesus does not give Thomas a hard time for not believing that the other disciples had seen the resurrected Jesus. He does not put Thomas down for his doubts. He meets Thomas right where he is and builds on that. Can we do any less for the people, especially the unbelievers that the Lord puts in our lives? 

And it seems to me that it is natural to have doubts sometimes. I do - there are seasons in my life when I question just about everything. The key to this, for me, is not to live in those doubts.  I know I can share my questions, my doubts, with the Lord, in prayer, and trust that He will help me deal with them, however that looks and in his time. Our God, who changed everything by allowing his Son to die so that we can be saved from sin and death, can probably manage to help me with my doubts. 

Julian of Norwich

And so our good Lord answered to all the questions and doubts which I could raise, saying most comfortingly; I may make all things well, and I can make all things well, and I shall make all things well, and I will make all things well; and you will see yourself that every kind of thing will be well . .  And in these words God wishes us to be enclosed in rest and peace.

Why didn’t Jesus wait until all the disciples were there before showing himself to them? Perhaps it was because Jesus knew that 2000 years later, each one of us would need to hear this story - the doubt, the need for proof, Thomas’s declaration “My Lord and my God,” and Jesus’ words to Thomas. “ Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”  

We have not had the privilege of seeing, in person, the resurrected Jesus.  We are still a blessed people if we believe. Jesus says so. 

Jesus also changes things in our ordinary everyday lives. 

James Ryle said

Healthy things grow

Growing things change

Change challenges us

Challenge forces us to trust God

Trust leads to obedience

Obedience makes us healthy

Healthy things grow . . .

Gene and I do our best, mostly, to follow Jesus. Or rather, to let him lead.  That is harder for me than following. And because of this following thing, we also do our best to listen to God in the power of his Holy Spirit. We have recently experienced a change, a somewhat cataclysmic change — story of move to Regina.  Word came to us as we drove home in June. Good things - house sold in a very down market, free storage space, found a great cottage in Regina. Not so good things - Dealing, through the grace of God, with less than helpful remarks such as ‘gee, I wouldn’t live in Regina if it were the last place on earth’. Just smile and wave, boys!  Anyway, lots and lots of God-given change which has challenged us and delighted us and sometimes has caused us to grieve. And because Jesus is involved, our lives have changed, we continue to be challenged. And we also continue to work on trusting and obeying, mostly,  and our spiritual health improves. 

Jesus changes us - if we will only let him.

Today, as on every Sunday when God’s people gather to worship him and celebrate the Eucharist, we have the opportunity to acknowledge the magnificent event of Easter, the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

And as always when we encounter our Lord Jesus with open hearts and minds and hands, we will be changed. As we remember what God in his love and mercy has done for us and as we come to the altar this morning to receive Jesus Christ’s body and blood, to be changed, we, with Thomas, can proclaim “My Lord and my God”.

Amen. Alleluia

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Of Preaching at A Score of Weddings and Three Score and Ten Funerals

Recently this blog turned fifteen. It has been far from viral but I’ve enjoyed writing it and it has been interesting to watch and wonder at the number of visits over the years. Sometimes they are thinly and evenly spread from around the world as things putter along. And then there has been the occasional burst of interest from Russia, of all places, to the tune of hundreds of views for a few days. Perhaps our brief (and most enjoyable) visit to St Petersburg in 2015 excited the fevered imagination of some algorithm or other, or one of their hack-factories is assessing my Anglican scribblings as a potential vehicle for cyber mischief. But I digress. 

The most traffic has been not so much to do with the potential for espionage as it has been funeral and wedding sermons related—of which there are around 70 and 20 or so posted on GENEralities respectively. I don’t know whether anyone has gleaned any useful ideas from them or found them helpful, but they get the most clicks. The two most visited are a funeral sermon delivered on Holy Saturday in 2012—22, 600 visits—and a sermon for a wedding in July of the same year—21, 100 visits. You can read them here and here

Why these two in particular? I have no idea. 

To let you in on a little secret, the thing about my funeral and wedding sermons, especially the funeral ones, is that they’re pretty much all the same. Perhaps people have noticed and are too polite to say anything. If ever I was asked to suggest readings for a funeral, as happened frequently, I always suggested Ecclesiastes 3 (There’s a Time for Everything) and John 14 (In My Father’s House Are Many Rooms). Then I would try to weave the story of the person who had died and the people who were remembering him or her into the Biblical story and draw their attention to Jesus and what he can do for them. So my funeral sermons were variations on that same theme. Over and over again. 

Weddings tended be variations on the 1 Corinthians 13—The Love Chapter—theme. Which is not about weddings as much as it is about how to do the charismatic gifts and church. But it can be spun into loving one another and a discussion about the difference between the love the couple have fallen into and the agap√©-1-Corinthians-13-Jesus-kind-of-love they will have to rise into if their marriage is to grow and last. 

The truth is that most of the people who are there are not really thinking about Jesus or the things of God. They’re grieving and thinking about the loved one or friend who has died or they’re wishing the nuptial couple well and looking forward to the fun of the reception party to follow. But still, such occasions are good opportunities to address real life and death—from “until death do us part” to when it has. 

And the most important, the best, the abundant life giving thing that everyone needs to hear and be reminded of is that a marriage, even a really good one, without Jesus will end eventually. So will a life without him. Lives and marriages with Jesus as an active participant, on the other hand, never end. They just go from glory to glory for ever and ever. 

Amen. Alleluia!

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE—The LORD‼️ Not Really An Homily for the Twelfth/Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity/Pentecost—with reference to Ex 3:1-15; Ps 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c; Rom 12:9-21; Mt 16:21-28


Which, when all is said and done, is all that needs to be said. Forever and ever. Amen. This is the God whose face cannot be seen and whose real name cannot even be spoken IS WHO HE IS and who does what he does, with absolute, unimaginable authority whether it made sense to Moses, or Peter, or makes sense to you or me, whether we agree or approve or think it’s fair, or not. 

I thrashed around a bit but this is what I think it all boils down to. Just as well I didn’t have to preach. 

Here’s a good one that did get preached! The Mad Padre strikes again—Rock to Block!

Love in Jesus,


Sunday, 23 August 2020

Thirteen Principles of Living Stonemasonry— What Could Be the Beginnings of An Homily for the Eleventh/Twelvth Sunday after Trinity/Pentecost—if I had to deliver one—with reference to Is 51:1-6; Ps 138; Rom 12:1-8; Mt 16:13-20


you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, just as Peter says. We believe it and declare it in The Name of The Father and The Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

Jesus said Peter was the rock upon which he would build his church (Mt16.18). When I read that Peter’s Living Stones came to mind—not a reading for today, but pertinent because as we come to Jesus, 

you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1Pet2.5)

…which also resonates with St Paul’s appeal in the first verse of today’s Romans 12 reading: 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (v2)

So we must also have supporting roles and parts to play along with Peter in Jesus’ great Church building project as we like living stones are being built into that spiritual house (1Peter2:5). But in order to be such living stones, just as Isaiah wrote in today’s reading, we need to be continually looking to The Rock from which we were hewn (Is15.1)—our Spiritual Rock which is Jesus (1Cor10.4). Which means being very clear about who Jesus is and why he is so important in the scheme of things. It’s what Jesus was getting at with his question to the disciples in our gospel. “Who do you say that I am?” (Mt16.15) Here are thirteen principles of Living Stonemasonry:

  1. Living stones being built into a spiritual house must go beyond mere flesh and blood to learn The Truth of what The Father in heaven has revealed about exactly who Jesus is so we can worship him well and share that Truth with others. 
  2. Living stones being built into a spiritual house say in word and deed, Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. We say it and show it in how we treat one another and especially how we treat people with whom we disagree and people we believe are wrong. 
  3. Living stones being built into a spiritual house present our bodies as living sacrifices, wrote Paul in our Romans reading, holy and acceptable to God which is our spiritual worship (Ro12.1). The trouble with living sacrifices, of course, said Dwight Moody, is that they keep trying to crawl off the altar. Living Stones stay on the altar! How? By not allowing ourselves to be conformed to this world with all its skewed and Godless values.
  4. Living Stones are built into a spiritual house through the transformation that comes when our minds are renewed (Ro12.2) by The Holy Spirit through regular and frequent reading and meditating on Scripture, praying and worshipping. 
  5. Living Stones are built into a spiritual house through consistent and attentive testing and discerning what is the will of God and what is good and acceptable and perfect (Ro12.2). 
  6. Living Stones being built into a spiritual house do not think more highly of themselves than we ought, but with the sober judgement that comes according to the measure of faith God has assigned us (Ro12.3). 
  7. Just as one body has many members (Ro12.4), spiritual houses are made out of many stones so Living Stones being built into such houses have to live and grow with, support and be supported by other Living Stones—lots of them. Spiritual houses are built by communities. 
  8. Living Stones are built into a spiritual house by discerning our many different functions and giftings in the One Body (Ro12.4-6) which is the Church. 
  9. Living Stones are built into a spiritual house as we identify and exercise the God-given Gifts of the Spirit St Paul lists in Romans 12: 
    1. prophecy, 
    2. service or ministry, 
    3. teaching, 
    4. exhortation or encouragement, 
    5. giving, 
    6. leadership
    7. Compassion, showing mercy or kindness 

We either know our gift or gifts, or we are actively discerning to what God is calling us. 

  1. Living Stones are built into a spiritual house as we do all these things in proportion to our faith, serving one another generously, with enthusiasm and cheerfulness (Ro12.6-8). 
  2. Living Stones are built into a spiritual house as The LORD increases our strength of soul and fulfills his purpose for them (Ps138.3&8). 
  3. Living Stones are built into a spiritual house as Jesus continues to build The Church he started with Peter—The Spiritual House.
  4. Living Stones are built into a spiritual house as they become the promised holy priesthood, offering spiritual and living sacrifices acceptable to God through our Lord and Saviour, (1Pet2.5)


Sunday, 16 August 2020

Second Best—Lord, help me! What Could Be the Beginnings of An Homily for the Tenth/Eleventh Sunday after Trinity/Pentecost—if I had to deliver one—with reference to Genesis 45.1-15, Romans 15.1-2a, 29-32 and Matthew 15.21-28



help us. Show us how you are offering to help us through your living Word today…in The Name of The Father and The Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

A Canaanite woman, a non-Jewish woman who had no business even approaching any Jewish man let alone Jesus—the disciples even tried to get him to send her away—came and knelt before Jesus, saying, “Lord,help me” (Mt15.25). 

The Second Best Prayer in all the gospels says my friend the Mad Padre (alias The Rev Dr Michael Peterson—hirsute, bow-tie wearing, model airplane making, war-gaming, erstwhile Padre in Her Majesty’s Royal Canadian Armed Forces)—actually he was talking about the version of that prayer in Matthew 8.5 when the disciples had to wake Jesus to calm a storm through which he had been sleeping. “Save us, Lord,” they said which, after all, is all that we ever really need whatever else we might be asking for. Her wording was a little different but her meaning and her need was the same—demons had stirred up such a storm in her daughter’s head so that she was in real danger of being swamped and sinking into deep demonic oppression. Maybe she’d heard Jesus was good with storms. “Lord, help me,” she prayed. 

The Best Prayer, of course, says the Mad Padre, is The Lord’s Prayer—the one Jesus gave us when the disciples asked him how to pray—but that’s for another Sunday. It’s also a bit long for when things are urgent and the demons are in your face. The Canaanite woman was afraid that the storm in her daughter’s soul was going to destroy her so she expressed herself accordingly with just three words. Lord, help me! 

So,  today let’s see what today’s readings can teach us about how to most effectively wield the second best one!

I wonder how often Joseph prayed something like it in the long years of separation from his family and until he realized, as we just heard, that God, in his wisdom and mercy, had sent him on before his brothers through all his trials and adventures to preserve life and be a blessing (Gen45.7)? And Paul must have prayed it frequently not only because his anxiety over his Jewish sisters and brothers in today’s Romans reading but also through all the imprisonments, beatings, lashings, stonings, shipwrecks, danger,  sleeplessness, hunger, thirst and pressure (2Cor11.23-28) he had to endure. 

When the Canaanite woman and the disciples in the boat prayed the Second Best Prayer they received help and were delivered immediately. Joseph and Paul must have been helped in their moments of storm, too, but there was a lot they still had to go through. I’m reminded of that verse about Jesus praying for help in Hebrews:

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. (Hebrews 5:7–8 (ESV)

…loud cries and tears, but Jesus didn’t get what he wanted. Yet it says he was heard. 

If that can happen to Jesus and Paul when they prayed The Second Best Prayer—where they weren’t helped in the way they wanted—what can we ordinary folk do when we pray The Second Best Prayer and nothing seems to happen. 

That must be when faith in The Best Prayer—The Lord’s Prayer—has to kick in with how it expresses all the wisdom and purposes of God the Father. 

But in the meantime it can’t hurt to be like the Canaanite woman who wouldn’t give up—to kneel before Jesus in submission and in our need, just as she did, and to use her words—over and over again if necessary—Lord, help me!

Help me to trust in your steadfast love, goodness and mercy even when you are silent, it feels like you’ve been sent to someone else and there are not even any crumbs that I can see under your table (Mt15.23-27). 

Lord help US! Help us to follow the faith-filled example of that determined Canaanite woman who knew that the help she needed could only be found in our Lord and Saviour, 


Sunday, 9 August 2020

What Are You Doing Here?—a short Homily for the Ninth/Tenth Sunday after Trinity/Pentecost with reference to 1Kings19, Romans10 and Matthew14


it’s good to be able to meet with you here in your Father’s house again. Thank you. And thank you for coming to meet with us so faithfully wherever we were over these last few months. Now please open the Scriptures you’ve set for us today to show us where we are, where you’d like us to be and what you’d like us to do when we get there…in The Name of The Father and The Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

“What are you doing here?” says the Lord to Elijah in the 1 Kings passage. Twice! (1Kg19.9, 13) And twice Elijah responds. 

I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away. (1Kg19.10, 14)

Elijah was on the run—a frightened man. 

There are frightened men in this morning’s gospel, too—in a boat. The boat Jesus MADE the disciples get into, it says, to go where Jesus wanted them to go (Mt14.22), whereupon they got to spend a whole night being battered by the waves, far from land with the wind against them (Mt14.24). After such a night it’s no wonder they freaked out when, early in the morning, Jesus came walking toward them on the water—like a ghost (Mt14.25-26). 

Then Jesus said those wonderful memorable, calming, reassuring words:

Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid. (Mt14.27)

Words worth taking to heart still. Feeling battered? Jesus says, Take heart!” Too far from shore? Jesus says, “I am here.”  Wind against you? Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.”

Peter immediately takes his words to heart—impetuous, leading-with-his-chin, Peter—despite the weather, the waves, the fear and not being entirely sure it was Jesus—goes for it. “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water” (Mt14.28). Jesus said, “Come!” And he did (Mt14.29). But when he noticed the strong wind, Peter had second thoughts, became a frightened man and began to sink (Mt14.30). 

So we have two frightened men singled out for our edification this morning—both fearing for their lives. Both having recently witnessed or performed mind boggling miracles. And I wonder, if those two Bible giants could be so badly frightened, how can ordinary people like you and me expect to follow Jesus and do what he calls us to do without trembling in our boots from time to time? And if we’re never fearful or at least a little bit nervous about doing what we think Jesus is calling us to do, is it really him we’re following? 

It will be helpful to have a look at how the Lord helps them overcome their fear. Peter yells, “Lord, save me!” and immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him (Mt14.30-31). I wonder how far Peter got to walk with Jesus across the water before they got into the boat and the wind ceased. What a walk that must have been!

For Elijah, the Lord stages a great mountain splitting, rock breaking wind, earthquake and fire that was instructively devoid of his presence before making his actual presence known in the sound of sheer, serene, peace-bestowing silence which made Jezebel’s threats and Elijah’s fears fade away into nothing. And, like Peter, Elijah “got back into the boat” with The LORD and they got on with things. The Lord had some people for Elijah to anoint and had chosen a successor for him, and Jesus had a church to build on the rock Peter was to become. 

Which brings me back to that original question—what are you doing here, Elijah? Only what if the Lord is asking me! What are you doing here, Gene? What can I say? What would you say if he asked you? What are we doing here? Elijah said he had been zealous for The LORD.  

Zealous—I looked it up—it means fervent, passionate, devout, devoted; committed, dedicated, enthusiastic, eager, keen, sincere, wholehearted, hearty, earnest, vigorous, energetic, single-minded. What would that look like in Anglicans like us? 

Here are some ideas from this morning’s readings: 

From St Paul: we could determine to confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord fervently and wholeheartedly. And we could decide to believe in our hearts passionately and devoutly that God raised him from the dead (Ro10.9).

From the gospel: keeping our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, we could commit to stepping out of our boats like Peter did (Mt14.29) and start walking to where Jesus is calling us. We could vigorously resist the fear that might sink us because Jesus said don’t be afraid (Mt14.27) and because it’s not always, or even mostly, going to be stormy or dramatic when we go where he calls us. Remember The LORD wasn’t in any of the drama in today’s Elijah story. He was in the sound of sheer silence. Just so, most often for people like you and me The LORD is in the quiet, ordinary things. How beautiful will the quiet, obedient tread of ordinary feet like ours be when they bring the good news (Ro10.15) of The One who is truly the Son of God (Mt14.33), our Lord and Saviour, 


Listen here.

And there’s another boffo offering from The Mad Padre using the other Old Testament reading for today  

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Loaves and Fish for Desolate Places—Some Things The LORD Might Be Saying To Us in Gen 32:22-31; Ps 17:1-7, 16; Rom 9:1-5 and Mt 14:13-21 Today


having heard of John the Baptist’s unjust execution, and saddened, no doubt, withdrew to “a desolate place by himself” (Mt14.13). Even Jesus needed to do that every now and then. So when we find ourselves in one, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, it is not foreign territory for him. He knows what desolate places are like and why we might be in them. 

Jacob experienced some lonely desolation of another kind in our Genesis reading—having to wrestle all night (Gen32.24), resulting in a hip knocked or twisted out of joint (v25), striving with God (v28) and ending up with a limp for the rest of his life (v31). The Psalmist continues on the desolate theme—heart tried, visited by night and tested (Ps17.3). And St Paul speaks truth in Christ and in desolation when he says “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart” (Ro9.1-2) over his kin who had not yet realized who Jesus was.  

Desolate places all. 

Is there any help to be found for those in such desolate places in today’s readings? I appreciate the reminder that our God, according to the Psalmist, is the “Saviour of those who seek refuge” (Ps17.7) for a start. I am also encouraged by St Paul’s ringing declaration that Jesus is “God over all” (Ro9.5) and by Jesus’ compassion, his healing the sick and feeding the hungry in miraculous and wonderful ways in the Gospel (Mt14.14, 20-21). Such statements remind me of who Jesus is and what he can do and I am helped. 

Desolate places are not always solitary places. They can also be crowded. Too crowded. The disciples wanted Jesus to send the crowds away in today’s Gospel. I wonder if part of the reason for that was that they we reluctant to take responsibility for feeding them. Jesus was no help. “No need,” he said. “You give them something to eat” (Mt14.16). I am uncomfortably aware that Jesus may well be saying something like that to me, too. I’m surrounded by people who are also in desolate places— living prosperous, comfortable lives yet having no hope and living without God in the world (Eph2.12). 

Like the disciples, I have to confess that I am also tempted to ask Jesus to send them away so I don’t have to be bothered with them, but what if he’s saying to you and me, too, “You give them something to eat.” Gulp. Sigh. What are the loaves and fish I have to offer? What can I give to Jesus for him to look up to heaven and say a blessing over so that I can give them to the hungry folk in this comfortable, prosperous but desolate place where people don’t even know they are hungry?

What ever it is, it has to come from and lead to