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.
"The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." (Psalm 46:11)
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.
Hmm, what to write about this week?
Instead of the Bible, this morning I picked up the hymnal for inspiration. I remember a story from church history about Martin Luther, the "father of the Protestant Reformation." As I recall, and I may or may not be recalling exactly, during dark periods of his life, Luther would turn to Psalm 46 for comfort. And he was often in great need of comfort. He was being persecuted for wanting to 'reform' the church, there was an outbreak of the plague which nearly took the life of one of his children, and Luther himself was on the verge of exhaustion. It is said that at his lowest times, Luther would turn to those around him and say, "Let us sing the 46th Psalm."
So before I sat down to write this week's reflection I picked up the hymnal and turned to Luther's most famous hymn, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." He wrote,
"A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing,
Our present help amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing."
Or as it says in Psalm 46:1, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
These are unusual times. We have been thrown off our normal routines and life seems out of balance. As Luther wrote, "And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us..." Many people are struggling for some semblance of normalcy, some sense of control.
I wonder if toilet paper hasn't become our idol of stability. It seems to be the one item talked about more than others. We think, "Yes, this I can control. I have enough toilet paper; I'm still in charge!" I wonder what Luther would say about our obsession? My guess is he'd say, "God's reign endures forever." TP? Not so much.
I pray that in these times, God may be your refuge and strength. We have already seen and heard stories of neighbors helping neighbors and people making sacrifices for one another. Doctors and nurses are putting their own health on the line to help others. As Mister Rogers' mother told him, "Look for the helpers."
Psalm 46: 10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God!" In any of life's anxious moments, that is good advice indeed.