By Rev. Dr. Brian Gigee
More Than Pie in the Sky
“Sometimes I wonder where my next dollar’s gonna come from… Keep my head up and something falls out of the sky … Daddy taught me how to use my bootstraps and carry on… He said God’ll be good to you son if you try.” ~ Chris Knight
In the islands of the south Pacific there are some indigenous tribes of people known as “worshippers of John Fromme”. It is said at the end of WW2 and in the ensuing years of recovery supplies were air-dropped to assist the native people whose lives and property had been disrupted by war. For some time this happened often and the anticipation of “pie from the sky” became the norm. Tribal leaders said the gifts were sent by “John from America” … and sometimes “John from Great Britain” and over time the gifter’s name was shortened to just “John Fromme.” But, alas, the air drops ended, yet the people still had hope! They looked, continually, upward waiting for supplies to fall from the sky. Parades are held to this day in that part of the world anticipating John Fromme’s return. So, disappointment grows. See? It turns out faith matters! Everyone believes in something or in this case… some still believe in John Fromme.
It seems, sometimes, faith is like the two sides of a coin. One side is full of confidence even though it can’t be proven; the other is a bit more superstitious hoping for results that require no effort. But, where I come from faith is a verb.
For some faith may be a feeling… even though we know feelings are just that… not right or wrong… just feelings and what we choose to do with them makes all the difference. And for others, the verbiness of faith is witnessed in the actions of those who have it. Here’s an example that hits close to home for me.
In 1981 I made a conscious effort join Bread for the World. It was founded by the brother of the late Paul Simon… (the senator from Illinois not the singer who partnered with Art Garfunkel!) Bread for the World (BFW) doesn’t feed people. BFW, instead, seeks to influence governments and global leaders who have the power to see that hungry people are fed. It’s important work. I trust this gets done and on one occasion I was fortunate to be part of a conversation with a former US Congressman who chaired the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and I had a hand in sending over eight billion dollars ($8,000,000,000) to emerging nations where women’s rights were being addressed and education for poor children could be realized. I felt pretty good that day. I had faith that the money would get to the people who could make that happen. As I’ve been saying, ‘faith matters!’
On the other hand, I have also been a life-long supporter of my church denomination’s World Hunger Program fund where food and supplies are sent to people at risk in the USA and abroad. Tractors, seeds and educators to teach people in third world corners how to feed themselves are part of this ministry. I have faith that people are being fed and learning how to feed others.
And, in the end… this is what I think is worthy to convey. Somewhere along the way since 1981 someone said, “you know, we can end world hunger in our own lifetime.” Yep! There is enough food produced annually to feed the entire planet five good meals a day and there are fewer people going to bed hungry now than there were in 1981. But, for me, one is too many.
John Fromme tried. I’m trying. I hope you will, too! Faith matters. It’s a verb.
Brian Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland and the lead pastor at New Life Lutheran Church at 3521 E. Orange St. in Olde Pearland. Comments and questions can be sent to [email protected]