Rev. Dr. Wayne Chasney
Pastor Wayne began his ministry at Monroeville in August, 1993, after graduating from Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, PA. Pastor Wayne has his Doctorate of Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a focus on ministry in the small church.
"And the sign said, the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls, and whispered in the sounds of silence." (Paul Simon)
In his spare time, Pastor Wayne loves running, reading and cheering for the Minnesota Vikings.
Pastor Wayne is married to Rev. Wendy Schindler-Chasney, pastor of St. John's UCC, Milan. They have two daughters.
Twice already this morning I have been reminded that today is the 50th anniversary of the day Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the Olympic podium in Mexico City during the National Anthem with black-gloved fists raised high in the air and (what is often forgotten) wearing black socks without shoes. They were protesting the plight and poverty of black men and women in the United States and South Africa. Both men paid dearly for their protest. They were sent home from the Olympics, banned from competing again, and struggled to find work.
In today's Daily Devotion from the UCC Stillspeaking Writer's Group, Quinn Caldwell pairs this story with a scripture from Jeremiah 26:11-12 where the priests and prophets of the Temple call for Jeremiah to be put to death for his protests against them. Jeremiah responds to them saying, It is the LORD who sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the words you have heard.' It made me think of Jesus' words in the synagogue in Luke 4, 'Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown.'
When I sat down to write today's devotion, I didn't intend to mention this anniversary of Mexico City. After reading Caldwell's devotion I didn't think there was more I could say. So I opened up my Bible to this reading from Amos 5:11, which was one of the suggested scriptures from this past Sunday. It said, 'Therefore because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them.'
The prophet Amos, like Jeremiah, is challenging the powerful for their treatment of the powerless. Amos is pointing a finger and warning those who enjoy the privileges of power to change their ways; 'Seek the LORD and live.' (Amos 5:6). That is the heart of the message for every prophet - seek God and live.
Two things struck me about these stories.
First, we are very slow to learn from history. We continue to close ourselves off from the words of prophets who challenge our worlds of privilege and call us to build a better world for all. It happened to Amos and Jeremiah. It happened to Jesus. It happened to Smith and Carlos. Today, it's Colin Kaepernick among so many others. We do all we can to silence their voices and fail to hear what God may be speaking through them.
The second thing that struck me is how the Bible still speaks to our world today. All of these passages about prophets are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. That's probably because we still have so much to learn. The question is whether or not we are willing to listen to the prophet's words, wherever they may be found.