Contributing Writer
Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church Arcade, NY

Escape rooms are all of the rage right now, and people across the country are joining in. In case you haven’t heard about this latest big thing, here’s how it works: you lock yourself in a room with a handful of friends and race against the clock trying to work your way out. The rooms are filled with clues and puzzles, and only by paying attention to every detail and putting the pieces together are you able to escape.

Escape rooms are so much fun we even did one at church a few weeks ago. We told our youth they were imprisoned Christians following the death and resurrection of Jesus and the only way out was to convert the guard finding the right clues, Bible verses, and more. Good news: they succeeded. But while they played at being locked in a room and were looking for the way out, there is a story we remember every Easter of disciples that were locked in a room and too afraid to go anywhere. It was Easter night and the disciples were locked in a room for fear of the Jews. Jesus was dead, and with him their hope. But the most amazing thing happened that night. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Imagine their joy.

Every time I hear that story I think about all of the times Jesus has snuck into my presence and surprised me with his peace. I think about all of the times I’ve tried to hide myself away, but God shows up bringing light into my darkness. You see, I might lock myself in escape rooms on the weekends, but I lock myself up in other rooms all week. Maybe you do too. Perhaps you’ve locked yourself in a room of guilt or shame. Maybe you’ve locked yourself in a room where feeling nothing beats feeling bad and trying nothing beats failure. Perhaps you’ve locked yourself in a room of pity, doubt, grudges, anger, certainty, pride, jealousy, or strife. Our locked rooms—like escape rooms—come in all sorts of shapes and colors.

But no matter what they look like, they all have one thing in common. There isn’t one of them that Jesus isn’t busting down the door of to greet us like he did his disciples on Easter night. There isn’t one locked door that stands a chance against Jesus. He comes and meets us, and dispels our doubts, fears, excuses, worries, and more. And then he sends us out. After greeting the disciples Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” It’s better than any clue for an escape room. Jesus comes and unlocks the door. We go forth.

Whatever locked room you find yourself in these days, I pray that you remember a couple of things. 1. You’re not alone. 2. Jesus is coming. And 3. When Jesus comes, like he escaped the grave, be prepared to escape that room. God has wonderful plans for you on the other side.

For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit 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.