It’s All Around Us

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Contributing Writer
Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church Arcade, NY

What comes to mind when you hear the word blessing? I ask because I’ve noticed when we say blessing we mean all sorts of different things. For example, if I asked you to count your blessings you might start thinking about the good things in your life from the material to the intangible. If I asked you to say a blessing, let’s say before a meal, on the other hand, you wouldn’t simply name one of the blessings from the question before. You’d pray. When young couples seek their parents’ approval before getting married, they ask for their blessing. When we worship, we bless the Lord. When we dip our fingers into a baptismal font we call that water blessed. We believe it is different somehow from the water that just made our morning coffee or washed our hands. We sing God bless the USA. We send message to one another using the words “God bless.”

The first thing I notice when I reflect upon that list is how central blessing is in our life. It’s all around us. From our hopes for our shared life together to our worship to the bread we break with our families, blessing abounds. And the second thing I notice is that everywhere there are blessings, there is a relationship. From understanding God as the source of the goodness in our lives to couples seeking the affirmation of their elders to strangers blessing strangers on the street, blessing never happens alone. Blessing only flourishes when parties come together.

As 2017 came to a close, you may have paused for a moment to reflect on your blessings. As 2018 kicks off, you may be hoping for a wonderful year. My hope for all of us is that we might begin to see blessing as more than just the stuff we have or a decorative word to hang on our dining room walls, but instead see blessing all around us. Then, having seen God’s blessing, that we might stop counting and start sharing by blessing God and one another.

Blessing is what you have, but it’s also what you do. Blessing is a prayer we say, but it’s also a state of gratitude. Blessed is what God makes us, but it’s also how we respond to God. So as you move into 2018 hoping for blessing to abound, may the fullness of that blessing come to life in you.
May your table overflow. May your faith ever grow. May you love God and neighbor, experiencing and sharing God’s favor, this year and forever. Amen.

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.