Contributing Writer
Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY

I love water. As a child I spent summers playing in the creeks at Allegany State Park and swimming in the lake at my family’s cottage. In high school and college I worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor. Even now, I love to water ski and go tubing with Molly (note: I am officially retired from tubing by myself, too many unfriendly drivers over the years).

I think water is awesome… but it also scares me half to death.

There isn’t a moment when I am on the water with my family that I am not a little bit afraid. When my daughters are swimming in pools or open water, or even just taking a bath, I am filled with anxiety. I love driving by rivers and creeks, but they also strike me as a bit ominous. I try to get on the Niagara River as much as possible, but there’s never a time I don’t think about where it eventually ends up. Water is great, but it is also a powerful and dangerous thing.

Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by the water stories in scripture…

the chaotic waters of creation…
the parting of the Red Sea…
the flood that drowned mankind…
the stormy sea that Jesus calmed in in the gospels…
the sea Jesus walked on in the middle of the night…

I’ve wrestled, struggled, read and reread these stories a thousand times now. Each time I read I come away with a fresh take on God’s action in the world, but here is the one takeaway I always have:

Out of control water leads to death.
In control water leads to life.

In creation, God’s Spirit rushes over the waters to create life. In Exodus, God parts the sea so the Israelites can be saved. Through the flood God delivers Noah and his family. Jesus calms the storm before the disciples’ boat is capsized and later walks on water to meet them in the midst of chaos.

For the most part, water is out of our control. Sure, we can harness a river’s current for power, treat lake water for drinking, and create reservoirs for supply, but we still find ourselves victims of droughts, floods and storms – and that is downright scary! However, water is not out of God’s jurisdiction and the One who created, parted, flooded, and calmed remains in control.

So, what’s the point? Well, my guess is you’ll come across water today – brushing your teeth, taking a shower, driving around, eating a meal, etc. When you do, take a moment to give thanks for in control water that leads to life. Remember your baptism. Reflect on the wonderful, yet dangerous, realities water brings. Dip your thumb in the water and trace a cross on your forehead. Water is not out of God’s control and God uses it to call, claim and cleanse you.

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 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.