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.
Then Jesus came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "So could you not stay awake with me one hour? (Matthew 26:40)
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.
In the spring of each year, as the weather begins to warm, we begin to find more and more wasps inside the church. I suspect they winter over in the attic space above the sanctuary and come out looking for food. They are usually pretty lathargic and most often I find them either dead or dying on the floor. Once in a while there will be one flying around with a little more life to it.
Such was the case on Sunday morning during the sermon. From my vantage point I couldn't actually see the wasp, but I knew it was there. I could see people's eyes drifting upward as it flew overhead. Then they would elbow their neighbor and try to point without being obvious. It became sort of comical to me as I realized much of the congregation was far more interested in that wasp than in whatever it was I had to say.
Life is full of distractions. For the disciples on the night of Jesus' arrest in Matthew 26 it had already been a long day. And Jesus had taxed their mental capacity with predictions of their betrayal and desertion. This on top of his foretelling of his crucifixion. The disciples must have been physically and mentally exhausted. Who can blame them for falling asleep?
We have our excuses, too. Job and family take up so much time and energy we have little left to give to nurturing our relationship with God. Then there are the distractions of the world, from wealth and possessions to our health and our bodies, so that pretty soon our discipleship to Jesus begins to slide down the daily list of priorities.
Can we agree, however, that this week - this Holy Week - is a time to set aside the distractions and make God a priority? This week teaches us that faith can be a matter of life and death, and when we give it our full attention we discover it can also be a matter of new life, too.
Don't feel bad if you were in worship Sunday and got distracted by the wasp. Sometimes I get distracted in worship, too. But I hope Jesus' willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of the world will garner your full attention this week, and that nothing will distract you from God's willingness to give new life here and now. This is a Holy Week: keep awake!