This Is My Song

0
99

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

I came home from Scotland last week with new appreciation. I came home with new appreciation for the game of golf in its most basic and elemental forms. I came home with new appreciation for the ‘oldness’ of villages and towns that make my 200 year old town seem like just a baby. I came home with new appreciation for beauty of the sea, the power of the wind, and the majesty of God’s creation. But that is not all I came home with. I also came home with a new appreciation of just how lucky I am to call where I live home.

As we drove through the Scottish Highlands and were greeted by rolling hills and fields covered with rapeseed or sheep, I had a moment of awakening. I had flown 11 hours across an ocean and up 16 degrees in latitude, only to look at a picture that looked quite like home. As my companions remarked on how beautiful it was, I agreed while quietly thanking God that I don’t have to travel that far to behold such a sight again. I merely need to take a moment to appreciate the landscapes in my own backyard.

That’s what proper travel does. It opens our eyes to new, radiant landscapes and surroundings, but at the same time it should make us grateful for the land we left behind. There’s a hymn entitled, “This Is My Song.” It is listed in the patriotic section of most hymnals, but that’s a misnomer. “This Is My Song” is not merely a song celebrating A land. It’s a song celebrating ALL lands. The song praises God for skies bluer than oceans and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine, but goes on to note that other lands have sunlight, clover, and just as lovely blue skies. It’s a song of praise celebrating what God has done in this place while praising God for God’s handiwork elsewhere as well.

I mention this in hopes that two realities will ground us. The first is that we will not take for granted our homes. God did not spend extra time crafting the land far off designating them as vacation destinations. God is the architect of OUR surroundings. Cherish them as you would cherish the scenes of a long-desired trip because they are no less wonderfully made. And second, remember that our God is God of all lands. Our home is great, but so are others, and God’s hopes for this place is no less or more important than God’s hopes for all others.

It was good to get away. It feels just as good to be home. Home or away, I am grateful.

“This is my song,
O God of all the nations,
A song of peace
for lands afar and mine.
This is my home,
the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams,
my holy shrine;
But other hearts
in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams
as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies
are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on
cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
And skies are everywhere
as blue as mine.
So hear my song,
O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land
and for mine.”

—Llyod Stone, “This Is My Song”

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.

Previous articleGive Big CHQ: A New Way to Contribute
Next articleWhat Does It Feel Like To Eat Healthy?
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.