Let Those Who Have Ears Listen

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

My Son, Kelly, recently started his first year of big kid school. He is a kindergarten and he loves every minute of it But we did receive a note home one day this year that every parent dreads. It started with the words… Kelly is having a hard time listening.

My first thought after seeing the note was, “Oh, I don’t think so. Kelly!” But before I could even sit his down to have a talk with his about respect, and listening to grown-ups, my wife informed me the situation was not what I guessed. You see, it wasn’t simply his ability to listen they were worried about, but his ability to hear. His teachers were shouting his name, yet Kelly remained un-phased. They took him to the nurse’s office and tested him hearing with a series of beeps. To our relief, there is nothing out of the ordinary. He simply has what some people call Allergy Ears. It clogs his ears a little bit and affects his ability to hear especially during peek allergy seasons.

I told my wife, Carol, she must have gotten it from me, and that I must have allergy ears too. Why else would I have such a hard time listening to her sometimes. She didn’t think that was very funny, and when it comes to hearing, I suppose it’s not.

We know hearing is important. It’s one of the ways we interpret the world around us, and although sight is catching up to it these days, hearing is the most important way we are taught and we learn. Perhaps that’s also why so many of Jesus’ examples were concluded with a similar phrase: Let those who have ears, listen.

One of those stories is about a sower. It’s an example of a man who sows his seed on rocks and paths and thorns and soil. Obviously some of the seed did better than others. You can check the full story out in Matthew 13, but I’m going to cut to the chase. For the longest time I thought that was a story about how different types of people. I was wrong. I’m now convinced it’s about how people are capable of hearing in different ways. The point isn’t whether or not we’re good soil. The point is how we should all always strive to be good soil, and do you know what good soil does? It’s hears, and listens.

Generally speaking, soil is what it is. Hard and full of clay. Rich and full of nutrients. Rocky and shallow, or beaten down to a path. That’s what it is, and it’s awfully hard to change. But the good news for us is that we aren’t soil. We can change. And what Jesus does is invite us to position our lives to resemble good soil for the gospel to take root. To not be like those people whose eyes are shut and ears are hard of hearing. But instead to try to comprehend the good news… to stick with it and let it take deep roots in our lives… to weed out the things that would choke our faith out before the weeds are all that’s left… and to make our lives good soil for God’s healing grace. 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.