Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church Arcade, NY
I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid I thought God lived at church. That, I figured, was why so many people visited him on Christmas and Easter. Joking aside, when you wanted to see God, you went to church. As I grew, however, I have to admit that it became harder to see God at church. Sometimes, I didn’t see God there at all. Around that same time I began to see God in a new place. For me that place was summer camp. All year I would wait for the one special week where God and I would walk together. I’d spend the rest of the year either coming down from that high or waiting for it. But that season of my life eventually ended as well, and God yet again seemed far away.
Only, here’s the thing about God’s disappearing act: God’s not the one hiding. We are. We go to church more worried about what we get out of it than what we can put into it. We made it about us. No wonder we can’t see God. We confine him to special places like summer camps and retreats, and stop looking for him in the ordinary moments of our lives. We live our lives blinded by our guilt and shame or by our pride and egos.
But the joy of Easter is that God stops at nothing to break back into our lives. Nothing. When Jesus died on the cross the curtain of the temple that separated the holiest of holies from all the rest was torn in two. God came rushing out. Yet the disciples still tried to lock themselves in a room hoping to avoid the commotion. But guess what, God burst through that door as well.
We all have things that prevent us from seeing God, but on the cross Jesus showed us that none of our tricks stand a chance. God will stop at nothing in order to break into our lives and shower us with his love, grace, forgiveness, and life. God is flooding his creation with his redeeming presence and unconditional love.
May you have a very blessed Easter. If you picked up the paper last week, I repeat a point my brother made. Easter is a 50 day celebration. Milk it for all its worth. And in case you were wondering, it’s 50 days because the joy of the resurrection cannot be confined to just one day, just like our God cannot be confined by any of our rules and expectations. God is everywhere. God is with you.
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.