One day, not too long ago, I was talking with a friend about how much I was looking forward to getting back to “normal” again when the Covid crisis would finally be in the past. She can't wait either - to finally have her kids back in school and get back to working in her office and actually having conversations with other adults again. And don't even get her started on wanting to get back to dating!
It has been a long, hard road – especially for parents with young children. Honestly, I don't know how you all manage to – quite literally – DO IT ALL! But, getting back to “normal” - I don't know about that. Due to the fact that too many people are refusing to get vaccinated or wear a mask indoors - it's actually getting worse. The number of Covid cases are rising again – thanks to the even more contagious and dangerous Delta Variant. We can't talk about returning to normal and I not even sure what “normal” means anymore. Everything is changing and it no longer feels just “temporary."
We are still very much in the middle of a pandemic! It affects all of us and we must each do whatever we can to help everyone get through it! I simply do not understand why people resist doing the right thing for the benefit of all people – especially our children. Who wouldn't want to protect our children?
You know what really concerns me – some people say whether or not someone gets vaccinated or wears a mask is a matter of which news station you watch or what political party you belong to or whether you value your own personal freedom over doing the right thing. But, what I think makes the decision for someone is whether or not they want to follow Jesus in this matter.
Jesus teaches us to “love our neighbors as ourselves”. He would never allow his actions to harm another person. He calls us to act in ways that serve the greater good of our community, and when we all do so, all of us prosper. So, the thing I wonder about is this: if a person chooses to not get vaccinated, or to wear a mask indoors, or makes it difficult for others to do so – are they really following Jesus? And why is it that these people get to decide for the rest of us whether our community will be a safe place for all of us? My hope is that people will pray about this and ask Jesus himself to tell them what to do.
What I know for certain is that Jesus calls us into community. He asks us to love one another as he loves us. And until all of us care about all of us, we will never get back to anything that looks and feels like what we once considered normal. And maybe we shouldn't even want that – but something that is new altogether. Let us remember that God in here with us, and that God is in control of all that happens. And if making earth here more like heaven is our job, then we all need to work together to make it so.
In His love, Pastor Susan
Reverend Susan Hanson has been serving churches since December 19, 1993, when she delivered her first sermon to her first congregation. Since then, Pastor Susan has served in 12 different settings of churches as an interim pastor and to nursing homes as a chaplain, primarily helping to heal hurting congregations and institutions so they could recover and start anew. Reverend Hanson came to St. Vincent UCC in 2013 - her lucky number 13, as she says - and has been with us ever since. How lucky we are because on Sunday, April 8, 2018, Pastor Susan was officially installed by the PA Southeast Conference of the UCC as St. Vincent UCC’s permanent pastor!
Susan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development from Florida State University; a Master of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary; and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling from Moravian Theological Seminary. She was ordained in her home church, St. John’s UCC in Lansdale, PA, on January 9, 1994.
Susan and her husband, the Reverend Doug Hanson, pastor of St. Peter’s Pikeland UCC, live in Chester Springs. They have a daughter and son-in-law who live in Alabama with Pastor Susan’s two grandchildren, a daughter and a son who live locally, and a Golden Doodle. In addition to meeting new people, Pastor Susan enjoys reading a good book, taking walks in nature, and visiting with family and friends.
In her Statement on Ministry, Reverend Hanson says that “a pastor assists the congregation in living out our call to be the heart and hands and voice of God here on earth in our own particular time and place. We can be assured that all of God’s hopes and dreams for us will be realized when we allow God’s Spirit to work within our own lives, and through us, to help others as we seek to do God’s will in the world. Together, we celebrate that when good people seek to make a positive difference in the world, it is there that real ministry happens.”
Feel free to contact Pastor Susan via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell phone at 610.393.6971.
Copyright © 2021 St. Vincent United Church of Christ - All Rights Reserved.