On Course

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

I had a dream the other night where I was a man on a mission. I had a purpose – a true sense of calling. There was a path I was meant to walk and over the course of the dream, I walked it. This path took me down streets and through stores. I ventured into big buildings and navigated small corridors. I walked with drive and determination. I cannot for the life of me remember what my purpose was; I didn’t know where I was going. Yet, as I progressed through the dream I knew which direction to go. It was as though God was pulling me forward.
In the midst of this drive to move forward, there were also voices telling me to stop. Initially, as I walked down my path there were people and voices encouraging me to quit. There were distractions and obstacles. While in a bookstore a man grabbed me by the arm and began pulling me away from where I felt I should go. In a staircase another person blocked my way. In my dream I alternated between feelings of confidence as I moved forward and frustration as I was thrown off course.
I’ve never read much into dreams, but this one stuck with me. The parallels between this dream and my life struck me. See, my life is thrown off course all the time. Nary a day goes by the way I expect it to. Some mornings I wake up vowing to accomplish this or do that, and by 9AM its clear that none of my plans are going to happen. On other days I tell myself I will live better, carve out time for exercise, be nicer to people, or practice forgiveness and compassion – only to find myself participating in patterns of behavior that go against everything I had hoped for.
Scripture is filled with stories of people who struggle to stay on the divine course God has laid out for them. In the Hebrew Bible, Abram (later Abraham) wrestles with his wife’s barrenness. Fear and doubt lead him to stray off course and take matters into his own hands. The Apostle Paul was imprisoned, beaten and persecuted for following Christ’s call. All of the oppression he received was Rome’s attempt to stall his ministry. Even Jesus finds himself tempted by the devil, exhorted by Pharisees to leave town, and challenged by his disciples who attempt to keep him from the cross.
On the discipleship road there will always be voices that attempt to lead us astray. At times the voices will be in our own heads as we wrestles with grief, anxiety, anger, and despair. At other times the voices will come from this world as it exhorts us to selfish living and satisfying our flesh. And still at other times the voices tell us to stop will be from the people in our life.
In my dream when I found myself blocked on the staircase, I looked up at the man in my way and said, “I know you and I know what you’re doing.” He let me pass. As I went forward I repeated those lines to the many distracters, “I know you. I know what you’re doing.” With each utterance the obstacles lost their power and control. The feeling of accomplishment and purpose was exhilarating.
When I woke up I had one singular thought:

I should try that sometime.

I know you. I know what you’re doing.

It’s worth a shot. I might actually have a day where I stay on course.

In the Way,
PSDH

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 Scott Hannon
Pastor Scott serves the people of St. John by helping the congregation welcome everyone, care for one another, and grow in the joy of God’s love through Jesus Christ. Pastor Scott earned his bachelor’s degree at the University at Buffalo and went to seminary at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry degree with an emphasis in preaching from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Pastor Scott and his wife, Kate, live in Bowmansville, NY with their children Molly, Delaney, and John Scott. Scott and Kate love Western New York for many reasons, not the least of which are the changing seasons, wonderful people, and of course the Buffalo Bills. Pastor Scott’s ministry priorities are worship, preaching and teaching. Scott’s hobbies are guitar, golf, and reading. To read some of Scott’s musings visit his blog Way-ward at www.psdh.org.