Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church Arcade, NY
The last 6 weeks of my life have been a whirlwind (summer has a way of doing that to us, doesn’t it?). I’ve spent three of those weeks away for work, and the other three running around doing all the work a normal week requires as well as the work for the weeks I was away. Oh yeah, and last week my wife and I welcomed our third child into the world to boot. It’s been crazy, and because it’s been crazy some things have slipped.
One of those things has been my lawn. Now, I’ve never been the guy who is obsessed with his lawn and has every blade of grass in perfect order, but I do genuinely enjoy a nicely mowed lawn. The problem there, of course, is the vicious regularity with which grass has a tendency to grow. I mean, seriously! I just mowed it last week and it already looks mangy again.
But that’s the thing about things that grow—things that are alive. They don’t require maintenance or care once.
They require maintenance and care always.
And the same is true for our faithfulness. It too, you see, is alive. But it’s also true that sometimes we treat it more like it’s artificial. We forget that faithfulness is at its best when it’s tended regularly. One of the things we see happening across the board is a decline in worship attendance. Regular attendance used to mean weekly. Today it means more like 1 out of every 4 to 6 weeks. I suspect the same pattern could be applied to practices of prayer and Bible study as well.
One of the things I hear people say about that is that you don’t need to go to church to be faithful or you don’t need to go to church to have a relationship with God. For the record, that is totally true IF you’re replacing that designated time with something else. But faith is meant to be alive. It’s meant to grow. Like grass, or the baby my wife and I just welcomed into the world, you can’t care for it once and expect the rest to take care of itself! You have to care for it regularly, and I’d use the word always there if I were a bolder man.
Grass can’t be ignored. Every time I drive into my driveway I’m reminded that it’s time to mow. Even my neighbors can tell it needs some work. Faithfulness, on the other hand, is much more discrete. Which makes it easier for us to avoid the regular maintenance. But we only hurt ourselves. Because life is a whirlwind, and not just lately. And faithfulness may be the only way to healthily make it through.
So water your spirit, sow seeds of love and kindness, and make your heart good soil, now and always.
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.