“Each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.  The good person, out of the good treasure of the heart, produces good.” (Luke 6:44-45)

Only a month later, I finally completed the online registration totals for this year’s Souper Bowl of Caring collection: $650 and 202 food items – both record highs over the past five years.  Way to go Valley! To date, almost 7000 churches and organizations from across the country have collected over $7 million worth in donations and food items.

The Souper Bowl of Caring began thirty years ago with one youth group at one Presbyterian church in South Carolina who wanted their members and community to remember the hungry on a day – Super Bowl Sunday – when many of us can and do eat more than we need to.

I am excited by our church’s commitment to fighting hunger as well.  In addition to these recent donations – which were designated for the Chagrin Falls Park Community Center (CFPCC) Food Bank – we also continue to be a key supporter of and ministry partner with North Church and their food program in downtown Cleveland.  Last year, we also began a food pantry garden on our property, providing a variety of fresh produce to supplement what is available at CFPCC.  On this summer’s youth/adult mission trip, we will also focus on hunger issues with our work at Camp Joseph Badger Meadows and their connection with Goodness Grows in Youngstown, OH.  You’ll hear more about that in the weeks and months to come.

Although yesterday’s sermon focused on the verses that follow it, the scripture passage quoted above was a part of yesterday’s gospel reading – a part of the Sermon on the Plain where Jesus is speaking “plainly” to his disciples and the crowds about what it takes to be a true follower.  In God’s eyes, we are known by what we do – what fruit we produce – as much or even more that by what we say.

Therefore, a stated desire to fighting hunger is one thing; finding creative and effective ways to carry out that commitment is something more; something that is worth our continued efforts and – we pray – pleasing to God.

In peace,
Pastor John