Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church, Amhert, NY
As I am writing this article, our fellowship hall is literally being filled with random clutter and furniture. Piles of old, dusty books are being stacked while faded vinyl records are being unpacked. Used clothing is being sorted. Old random cups and dishes are filling tables. Toys, games and puzzles are piling up and tacky holiday decorations are being organized into their portion of the room. There’s an old pew on the stage and a flamingo lamp in the corner. There is some major clutter at St. John right now.
As people drop off items for our rummage sale you can see the relief on their faces. It seems like everyone is just happy to get rid of all their “stuff”… Stuff they’ll never use again. Stuff that gets in the way. Stuff that just collects dust. Stuff that takes us space. Stuff that seems like it has run its course in this life.
The funny thing about all this “stuff” that people don’t want any more is it will raise thousands of dollars to fuel ministry. What is broken will be restored. The clothes that no longer fit will find a new owner who is the right size. The books read once will be read again. Puzzles assembled and taken apart will be put together again. Unwanted toys will bring new joy. Unappreciated knick-knacks will find a new home.
It is not the end for this stuff. Rather, it is a new beginning.
Sometimes I think we have a tendency to be like our stuff. Our drive and energy wane. Our bodies and spirits pick up nicks and scars. Like a dog-eared book, we can feel worn and tired. Like an old shirt, we fade and wither. Like a puzzle missing a piece, we can feel like we’re lacking something. Like a random glass, we can feel like we’re out of place. Sometimes we can feel like we’re collecting dust, getting in the way, and taking up space.
But… it is not the end for us. Rather, each day is a new beginning.
God writes in scripture, “Behold I make all things new (Revelation 21:5).” The Apostle Paul writes, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! (II Corinthians 5:17)”
In the waters of baptism we are claimed by God and reborn as children of the Spirit. Daily, with each breath we take, we are offered new life and new hope. God’s grace restores and refreshes. God’s love replenishes and renews. We are not unwanted people that get in the way. We are children of God.
May you come to see yourself not as a tired and worn object, but as a living and thriving part of creation. May you find God at work in your life – repairing broken relationships and restoring lost hope. And may we all, through this process of renewal, find that we are the new fuel for God’s mission and ministry.
In the Way,
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott’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.