Faith Matters What You Do

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

Even though I this happened several years ago. I can’t stop thinking about an incident that happened one night while I was there. Each night the cabins gather for a devotional period. This is a time of reflection, settling down, and prayer. Each camper shares their highs and lows from the day’s events, and then the counselor leads them in a short reflection. On the night I joined a boys’ cabin for ‘devotions’ the counselor asked a simple question, “Where have you seen the Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Cabin 6 (LCLC6) today?”

Now let me tell you about the LCLC 6. The LCLC 6 are 6 faith practices the campers (and really all of us) are supposed to live out every day. They include things like “Reach out to others,” or “Have a positive spirit.” They are meant to be reminders that our faith isn’t simply having the right answer, it’s about living a certain way.

So back to the counselor’s question. “Where have you seen the LCLC 6 today?” As he asked the question the collective gaze of the cabin fell to the ground and every one of the campers was thinking the same thing, “don’t ask me… don’t ask me…” Finally the counselor asked again, “Come on, guys, I know you’ve seen them. Where have you seen the LCLC 6 today?” Nervously a little guy in the cabin lifted his face then slowly raised his hand and pointed to the door. We all looked, and right there next to the door was a laminated sign that read, “The LCLC 6.” I laughed, but the kid wasn’t wrong. That was where he saw the LCLC 6 that day.

There is a verse from the book of Deuteronomy that is central to the Jewish (and thus Christian) faith. It’s called the Shema, and it says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.” Because of this verse’s importance in the life of the people, it came with some instructions. They were, “Keep these words in your heart… Recite them to your kids… and write them on your doorposts…” Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Am I the only one who pictures devotions at Jewish summer camp 2,600 years ago and a Rabbi asking his cabin, “Ok, guys, where have you seen the Shema today?” And each kid stares at the ground until finally one kid points to the doorpost!

I’m sure it happened, but I’m not sure that’s what Moses had in mind when he told the Jews to post it on their doorposts. And I’m not sure that’s what camp had in mind when they put the LCLC 6 next to the door either.

You can write “Live. Laugh. Love.” on your wall. You can remind yourself to “Believe” above your doorpost. You can write “Be Positive” on your fridge. But if you can’t answer “How have you seen those things today?” without pointing to sign, you are not doing it ight. Faith isn’t what we know. Faith is how what we know impacts what we do.

Be your Shema. Be your LCLC 6. Be your life, laughter, and love. Today. Amen.

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 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.