Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church, Amhert, NY
Yesterday, I was driving down the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo, completely stressed out of my mind. I had to run into the city to pick up my daughters, Molly and Laney, from day care. The plan was to run them home, drop them off with my wife (who may or may not be home), and then head back downtown for a wedding rehearsal. I had 45 minutes to accomplish a task that normally takes an hour.
My mind was racing while I was racing. I was worried about being late for the rehearsal. Frustrated that I didn’t have enough time. Concerned that my wife might not be home. And that’s when I heard my daughter Molly in the back seat say, “Jesus.”
My first thought was, “Jesus! Did I just say ‘Jesus’?!” That’s when Molly said it again. “Jesus.” And again… “Jesus.” And finally she said, “Jesus Christ is born.” As it turns out, she was reading a Christmas book (which I assume normal kids read in June).
Hearing my daughter repeating the word “Jesus” in the middle of my panic and road rage was cute and calming. I started thinking about what really matters and I reprioritized my life.
Step one: Get out of your head and talk to your kids.
Step two: Get home and make sure they’re safe and taken care of.
Step three: Head back out deliberately and carefully. After all, being a few minutes late is not ideal, but it also isn’t the end of the world.
In that moment I realized how easily distracted I can be. I spend too much time thinking about what’s next and not enough time with the people I am with. I check my cell phone incessantly. Sermons swim through my brain when I should be listening to my wife. And to tell you the truth, it’s kind of exhausting.
In scripture Jesus says, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34 The Message translation)
“Give my attention to what God is up to right now.” That’s a novel concept.
“Don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.” Impossible.
As crazy as it sounds, I think Jesus knew what he was talking about. He knows we are wired to worry. He knows how easily distracted we can be. And so he gives real life, concrete counsel: Get out of your head and get in the moment. Take care of right now and don’t worry about tomorrow.
I’m going to try that today. I think you should too. And when we fail (like we tend to do) let’s try again. After all, our current pattern only begets more drama and stress and Jesus really does have the words to eternal life.
“Jesus Christ is born.”
Amen, Molly. Thanks for the reminder.
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.