These days it is a real challenge for us to believe in miracles. The current health crisis might make us feel forgotten by God. And on top of that, a growing economic crisis might make us feel cursed! But that is not what is happening. God has neither abandoned us – nor would he ever curse us. Maybe what is going on is more like a test for our generation of people.
Viruses will come and go – and then, we get better at fighting them. A crisis can happen and then we adapt so that we can recover and repair and become reconciled to the changes it brings into our lives. Bad things happen even to good people and that gives us the opportunity to make amends and seek justice for those who have been hurt. All that happens because we value what is good and right and then, work together to accomplish it.
Every time a crisis hits us – it serves as a test for us – in this instance to see how we can bend to the will of a virus that doesn't respect human life by us giving divine respect to human life among us. We know how precious it is to the One who created it. We bend in order to do what must be done to win our freedom from what threatens us all.
Yes, it wants to see what we will do. It wants to hear how we respond to the annoying, but necessary restrictions on our lives – to observe how we conduct ourselves in our homes, when we are out in public, when we think no one is watching, to understand more fully who we are, to whom we belong, and to what we will claim as our purpose in life.
And right there is the miracle that we long for in this time of crisis – that in spite of all the tragic loss of life, the grief of those left behind, the restrictions on our activities, the empty shelves in grocery stores, the frightening fact that it ain't nearly over yet – we are still here, our families are safe, we find inspiration in the stories of ordinary people turning into super heroes among us. Life goes on – beaten up, surely – but it still goes on. Babies are born, sick people recover, the shelves get re-stocked, we find new and different ways in which to stay connected to those we love.
Let us, then, go forth into this month of May with mercy and grace in our hearts and act like Jesus as much as we can in this tough and trying time in our lives. May you make it your personal mission to do so and thus, make the world a better place for all. May God help make it so. Amen.
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 email@example.com or by cell phone at 610.393.6971.