Faith Matters: Communing in the Quarantine

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

This Christmas we bought our children tablets. This March, I took them away. It wasn’t because our children were abusing them. With the restrictions we set up, that was hardly possible. Still, in 8 weeks I am certain I saw a change in their personality.

Chances are some of that change came with their unrelenting growth. Perhaps I played a role in it as well. But I am certain most of it resulted from the screens. So, we took them away. And yes, they grumbled about being bored. Of course, they fought with one another a bit more. Naturally, Santa is the hero who brought the tablet and I am the villain who took it away.

But I have no regrets.

(And full disclosure, by day 2 of the quarantine I was already ready to give them their tablets back! That said, they are still tablet free.)

I’m not the kind of person who thinks there is one right way to parent. I’m not the kind of parent who thinks I do everything right. Farthest thing from it. Also, this is not a ranting post about how kids need to play outside. Instead, I share that because considering screens’ effect on my children made me question whether or not screens were having an effect on me.

In this time of social distancing, screens rule. We sing their praises. We laud their ability to let us meet in our pjs. Even at church, we are taking the physical reality of worshiping together and streaming into living rooms. And I am grateful to live in a world where technology makes all of that possible. But I hope that we also continue to hold that in tension with whole.

If we knew limiting screen time was important before social distancing, I hope we can continue to remind ourselves of it now. In fact, in this time of uncertainty and fear, we may need a break from our screens now more than ever.

These are difficult days, and we all find ways to cope. Screens make us feel connected, but sometimes they don’t. Do not neglect to care for the parts of yourself that need both physical connection and communion with others and the world as well as still moments with yourself. My friend’s son kicking a soccer ball to his friend across the street on Long Island (no hands), the scene at the village park, and the masses talking good-walks-gone-bad around golf courses reminds me that there are still ways for us to actually be together un-virtually.

We will get through this.

You will get through this.

Because we are not alone.

Not even in the confines of our own homes.

Take care of yourself.
Take care of each other.

Previous articleIn Loving Memory: Week of 3-23-2020
Next articleJoin Me in the Kitchen: Friendship Tea
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.