That is all it took to put a smile on the face of one of God’s children. You might be wondering what exactly can fifty cents do to make someone smile? With that fifty cents, a box of crayons was purchased to be given to a child in our community who was preparing to head back for another year of school.
For the past five years, in conjunction with our Meals on the Lawn, we have collected school supplies to be given away to children in our congregation and in our neighborhood. This year, we all were amazed at the number of school supplies collected from the children who came to our Vacation Bible School and from you, the disciples at St. John’s. Because of your generosity, 67 children started off their school year with supplies that ensured they were ready for the school year. Because of your response to Jesus’ message to love and care for one another, these children were surrounded by your love as they started their studies.
This generosity is just one of countless stories of St. John’s disciples taking Jesus’ command to love one another and to care for all of God’s children. Week after week, St. John’s disciples are active in our community one way or another. Our disciples help at the Grace Lutheran Food Pantry, ensuring that our sisters and brothers in Springfield have enough food for their tables. Disciples help out with Caregiver Interfaith Volunteer Services, helping people maintain their independence by providing a wide variety of services. The list could go on and on, as disciples volunteer at a wide variety of places in our community.
I, like many of you, had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to volunteer through the Illinois Mission of Mercy free dental clinic. The outpouring of love shown by the over 1,000 volunteers, providing this much needed service to members of our community, was overwhelming. There were certainly other things we all could have been doing, but the message I kept hearing from all the other volunteers was that this was the least they could do to give back to their community and to care for others. Getting up at 3:30 (or earlier) to head to the convention center, working 12+ hour shifts, was all worth it seeing the smiles on the faces of those who were able to receive these services that otherwise they would be unable to afford.
A church I visited a couple of years ago had a sign that I will never forget. There were two different messages on the sign. As you walked into the building, the sign welcomed you to their community. As you left the building, the sign said, “The worship is over; the service begins.” As Christians, we are called to go into our community to share God’s radical love with all. This fall, you are invited to “Come and See” the countless ways you can become the hands and feet of Christ as we serve our neighbors.