Faith Matters: Possible Eagle

Contributing Writer Rev. Dr. Scott D. Hannon St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY
Contributing Writer Rev. Dr. Scott D. Hannon St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY

This is hard. Life in the coronatimes is difficult. It is tough time to be old and a tough time to be young. It is a tough time to be working and a tough time for those looking for work. It is a tough time for those close to retirement or retiring. It is a tough time to be a pre-schooler, a tough time to be a highschooler, and a tough time to be a grad-student. I hope it goes without saying that it is a tough time to be teaching on any level. This is tough.

It is hard being pregnant right now or sick right now. It is hard to be home alone and it is hard to be home with constant roommates. It is hard on kids, hard on teens, hard on young adults, hard on middle adults, and hard on older adults. (Keep in mind I have not even touched on the ethical and political realities facing our country right now.)

Therefore, it should go as no surprise that it is a hard time to practice our faith in the ways that we were accustomed. These are difficult days and religion has not been extended an abstention. On the contrary, life for Christians (and many believers of other faiths) is complicated right now too.

What I hope we can keep in mind is perspective. While it is easy to get down and feel sorry, in reality the struggles of the church in the midst of the coronacrisis pale in comparison to what Chrsitians have endured for centuries. Our forebearers were persecuted for their faith. Some were fed to lions. Others were burned at stakes. Some were tortured for the enjoyment of cruel leaders.

For many Christians going to church was never easy (even in recent years). It involved miles of walking. Many risked their lives to worship. In some countries it remains illegal to practice Christianity. Prior to the corona, faithfulness to Jesus has divided households, ended relationships, and upended reality.

All of which I offer to encourage patience and endurance as we continue our faithfulness in the midst of a global pandemic. I will be the first to say that I have lamented the cessation of public worship and attempted closure of “church,” but let me also be the first to say that our struggles as 21 st century Americans pales in comparison to the struggles of Christians through the centuries and around the globe. If this is our “lot”, we still won the Christian “lottery.”

In scripture Jesus tells his disciples that they will “have trouble in this world.” That warning was not reserved for the ancient disciples or third-world disciples, but for all disciples. Jesus knew that we would have trouble in this world. He never promised that it would be easy. In fact, in other verses he coached them for quite the opposite. He told his disciples that faithfulness would require gentleness, patience, sacrifice, prayer, and love.

Now is the time for us to practice what we preach. The day will soon be upon us when some sort of new-normal worship will resume. Until then, let us endeavor in every way possible to show the world that the church never closed.

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.