Contributing Writer
Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church Arcade, NY

July 4th on the hill where I live is a spectacular sight. If you sit in our backyard and look west you can see fireworks on the horizon for 180 degrees. There are large ones booming in the sky and small ones sneaking through and over the trees in the distance. There are townships blasting off the big boys in a coordinated fashion and a sprinkling of backyard enthusiasts joining in on the fun. For 90 minutes the horizon is on fire.

This year we sat in our Adirondack chairs and watched the show with our family and neighbors. We ‘oo-ed’ and ‘awe-ed’ at all the appropriate times, and used our elbows to catch our neighbors attention pointing out the latest action in the sky. But when the fireworks finally subsided, something amazing happened. Perhaps it was because our eyes were already looking up, or maybe it was because of how clear of a night it was—who knows—but as the last firework burned out and crackled to the ground, we were all left staring at the sky. And what did we see? God’s own light show. Millions of stars splattered across the sky forming patterns and pictures from our view on earth, yet stretching out beyond our comprehension into the universe. It too was a spectacular sight, and we were not the first to notice.

The Psalmist wrote: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands” (Ps. 8:3-6a).

Imagine that. The creator of heaven and earth, who placed every star in the sky; the author of gravity and the only certain thing on the other side of every black hole; God, who created the vastness of the universe, not only made us too, but bestowed upon us a sacred and special role in that creation. In all of creation, God crowns us with glory and honor.

July 4th is a great night to look at the sky for a man-made light show, but don’t lose sight of the far greater light show that is ours every night. Don’t forget to look at the stars—God placed everyone. Then remember: the same God who hung every star in the sky, created you and crowns you with glory, so that you, like those stars, might shine as well and your life might be a testimony to your maker.

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.

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Pastor Shawn Hannon
Pastor Shawn is a 2010 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, and he began his call at Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade NY that summer. While he spent four years learning and serving churches in South and North Carolina, as a Jamestown, NY native, Western New York has always been home. He is glad to be here. Pastor Shawn and his wife Carol Hannon met while attending SUNY Geneseo in the mid-2000s. They have enjoyed making their home together in Arcade with their daughters Quinn and Perry.   Pastor Shawn has a background in youth and outdoor ministry. He is a former camper and staff person at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center in Bemus Point, NY. He has also served camps in urban settings and oversees in Madagascar. In seminary he was recognized for gifts in Greek and New Testament, and in his senior year was recognized with awards in both Preaching and Biblical Studies. Pastor Shawn continues to emphasize the youth in his ministry, but not simply because they are the future church, but because they are the church of today.  He also enjoys working on service projects, and takes the role of planning meaningful and engaging worship seriously.  He loves helping people find ways to put their passion and energy to work making their community and other people’s worlds a better place. When he is not working at church, Shawn enjoys remodeling and construction projects around his family’s home.  But as busy as he gets, PS always has time for a quick nine (okay, 18) on the golf course. He enjoys playing sports of all kinds and fiddling with his guitar.