Not There Yet

Contributing Writer
Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church Amherst, NY

I am a pastor and I would love to tell you that I am a perfect Christian, but the truth is…

I’m not there yet.

Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself a man of deep faith. It’s just that I keep having these moments.

Moments when I hate.
Moments when I rebel.
Moments when I ignore.
Moments when I turn off.
Moments when I break.
Moments when I fall.

I keep having these moments (actually, sometimes they’re more like hours or days) when I want to do better. I want to be the best Christian and pastor and father and husband I can possibly be, but the problem is…

I’m not there yet.

And the worst part of it all is I’m not sure I ever will be. I’m not sure the days of purely faithful, halo-wearing, water-walking Scott are in my future. Rather, I think I’m in for a long, arduous journey – a journey with ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, faith and flop.

I have preached a sermon on the Apostle Peter’s confession of faith. This confession is a mountaintop moment for Peter. He gets it right. He says the right thing. Jesus gives him a ton of praise. In my sermon I exhorted my congregation to be like Peter – to stand up and confess their faith – but I had a secret. I knew…

He’s not there yet.

I knew that the next gospel lesson was the second half of that story and while Peter seems so clutch and classic in that moment he’s about to fall flat on his face. See, after this triumphant moment for Peter, Jesus tells him they’re going to Jerusalem (which is not good for them at all) and Peter flips (or should I say, “flops”). Peter cries, “No,” and Jesus’ praise becomes rebuke. In fact, Jesus says, “Get behind me, Satan.” In a fraction of a second Peter goes from ROCK to BLOCK.

While this is surely a tragic moment for Peter, it is a triumph for me. It is a triumph because it shows there is hope. It shows that we don’t have to “be there” for Jesus to say, “You’re with me.” It shows that perfection is NOT a requirement of discipleship. It shows that we can have these moments (or hours or days) where we don’t get it and Jesus won’t abandon us. Peter’s ROCK to BLOCK moment shows us that we are not lost just because we fail.

Now, my guess is that you’re like me, that…

You’re not there yet.

And if that’s the case, don’t panic. You don’t have to be. (Not that that should be a reason to sin.) No matter where you are and no matter how “not there yet” you feel, remember, you are capable of deep faith. You are a child of God. You are forgiven. You are loved. You are cherished. And even if you rebel, break or fall, you’re still His – even if…

You’re not there yet.

Thank God.

In the Way,
Pastor Scott

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.