Grace Like Rain

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Contributing Writer
Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade, NY

Shortly after buying my first home I realized everything I had learned about water in seminary was a lie. Water, they told us, was the source of life and essential for living. Water was beautiful and sacramental and holy. Grace falls like rain. Cups overflow. Justice flows like streams. Oh how lovely.

But as I stood in the stone basement of my 1915 house with 2″ of water at my feet, the romance was somewhat lost. When I discovered the flashing of the chimney had rotted and rain had been pouring into my attic for an undisclosed amount of time, I wondered. When I took my first shower in my new home (yes, the very first shower) and water began to drip in the office below, I became certain. Water was the enemy.

I spent 5 years attempting to tame the water in that house. We replaced all the plumbing. We knocked down the chimney and repaired the roof. We repointed the foundation. We paved the driveway and sloped it to push the water away from the building. Silicon caulk became my friend (thou I still can’t seem to apply it as beautifully as they do on HGTV). Owning a home became a relentless battle attempting to keep water in its place.

But somehow, water kept finding new ways to torture me. “Water always follows downhill,” the roof guy said as left the job. He was right, but I also found out later that ice dams have no problem sneaking up. Slow leaks hiked up water bills. Water found its way through every untidy caulk line, and into every unwanted place.

Of course my seminary was right about more than one thing, but one thing it didn’t underestimate about water is that it could not be stopped. Perhaps that is why it is the best metaphor for grace. Perhaps that is why the waters of baptism are the place where we see the outpouring of God’s love so clearly.

Water cannot be tamed. Look at nature. A stream carved the Grand Canyon. Glaciers formed Finger Lakes. Rains cause mudslides and flooding. Water always wins.

And that, among all of the ways water is like grace, is most important of all. It always wins. It always finds us. It behaves expectedly, until it does something new and meets us again. It sneaks past our defenses. It cannot be stopped.

Owning a home taught me that water is untamable, and Scripture teaches us that nothing cannot stop God’s grace. Not heights, depths, powers, rulers, angels, life or death! (Romans 8). So grace is like water, but not simply for all of the pretty and practical ways we imagine, but also because of its power and persistence. God loves you, and that love will not be stopped.

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.

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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.