Hope; Leading Beyond Death | The Blog Of Jeff Bullock

In the End…Hope

I recently witnessed one of the most remarkable refutations of a tragic death. 

Rev. Scott Hauser, 37, husband to Lara, father to four children ages eleven to one, son, brother, grandson, uncle, friend—and pastor—succumbed to angiosarcoma.  Scott and Lara fit more into their fifteen years together than most of us accomplish in a lifetime. 

When the Chaplain of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago asked Scott whether he feared death, the day before he died, he responded: 

“No.  I have the easy part.  My wife and children—they have the hard part.”

I could go on and on about Rev. Hauser, but that’s not the point of this posting.  What, for me, was as remarkable as his authentic, faith-filled life, was the way that his family and friends led all of those who grieved through this very sad day. 

Some of you know that I, too, am a Presbyterian minister.  Over and over I sat there, with the other members of the worshipping congregation, saying to myself, “I couldn’t do this.  No way, no how.  I couldn’t do this.”  But they could. 

The “they” in this story are other religious leaders in Scott’s life.  His family members and the members of his faith family, other clergy.  To a person, voices caught and tears were shed.  It was all very raw, very real, very authentic and, finally, very defiant.  A group of mostly young, millennial Christian leaders, by their words and actions, got the last word in. 

Death did not have the final say.

Afterwards, I complimented the young pastor about his sermon.  “I don’t know how you did it,” I said.  “Truthfully,” he said, “it was easier than doing a eulogy.  I got to tell people about the Good News.” 

You see, in Christian parlance, the “Good News” is the Good News of Jesus Christ.  It is the Good News of a man who was born, who lived, who died an awful and tragic death, whom God raised from the dead, and who lives again.  His name is Jesus. 

Christian people believe in resurrection, which is the implausibly good news that death doesn’t have the final say, and those who die are raised again to experience a new life with Him.  In a post-modern, post-structural, alternative fact, no truth with a capital “T” world, this story doesn’t make sense to a lot of people.  But it made perfect sense to those gathered at the Crossroads Presbyterian Church in Mequon, Wisconsin.

Leadership is hard.  Leadership in an emotionally draining, sad and the senseless moment like the one the family and friends of Rev. Scott Hauser are experiencing is even more difficult.

And, yet, God continues to provide us with real, authentic, compassionate, faithful and strong leaders who serve in places like the Crossroads Presbyterian Church, Mequon, WI; First Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, IN; Edenburg Presbyterian Church, Knox, PA; Concord Presbyterian Church, Parker, PA; the Presbyterian Church of Punxsutawney, PA; the United Parish, Bowie, PA; the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, Chicago, IL; the Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church, Columbia, MD; the First Presbyterian Church, Sioux Fall, SD; and the First Presbyterian Church, Sarasota, FL. 

All but one of these worshipping communities are led by millennial pastors. 

They’re often quirky and unconventional by the standards of my generation—and strong.  The communities in which they lead are better places because of their presence.  They are voices of hope in communities that have, in some cases, been long forgotten. 

If you happen to be near one of these places, I suggest that you stop in for their worship service.  You’ll walk away, as I did, understanding that the Son will rise in the morning.

Photo ofRev. Scott Hauser
Rev. Scott Hauser
Job Title
Pastor and Head of Staff
Crossroads Presbyterian Church
6031 West Chapel Hill Road,
Mequon, Wisconsin, 53097


    • Michelle’s Dad…

      Thank you! I look forward to meeting you one day. I appreciate your engagement, and the good work that your daughter does!

  1. Thank you, Jeff for this article. I understand the experience as a pastor myself. I have had to do too many funerals of young, vibrant people who had everything going for them. None of us are every far away from the easy part of the last victory. We are in positions to come face to face with it so very often as we try to provide the comfort of the truth. But, let us never lose our grip on that victory which belongs to us. For people like the Housers’ it was their first experience of a call to eternity.

  2. It is good to be reminded that death is not victorious as it sometimes can be felt! My wife died 4 August 2016, sometimes it does not feel victorious,
    Duane E. Ferris ret. class of 1952

    • Duane,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for reading the blog. As I alluded in the post, I can’t begin to imagine the pain of that kind of a loss. I also take comfort in the words of C.S. Lewis, “…the sorrow we have now is because of the joy we had then.” Somehow, that helps.

  3. Linda,
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. And thank YOU for your good, compassionate and strong ministry.

  4. Thanks for sharing Jeff. We are richer for your words. Scott’s family is in my thoughts and prayers as we share the glorious Risen Christ. In Him there is no death.

    • Don,
      Thank you for responding, and for reading the blog. It’s wonderful to be “Easter” people!!

  5. Amen! I’m a member of one of the churches led by one of the “quirky and unconventional” pastors you describe. I watched the memorial service streamed on my computer and you summed it up perfectly.. Last night, I led a discussion with middle schoolers about death in anticipation of our Ash Wed service. The memorials for Scott Hauser were a perfect example of death not having the final say and that in the midst of the sadness and the awfulness there can still be laughter. And his niece agreed.

    • Liz,
      Thank you for your kind words, and for reading the blog. That you, as well, for your work with “middle schoolers.” I remember with fondness my days of leading a youth group. Those we challenging…and inspirational…times! Please greet Scott’s niece…and your class…for me!

  6. Beautiful story. I was in awe of the strength of the leaders but especially Lara. My prayers will continue for everyone touched by Scott’s short life.

    • Julie,
      I agree. It was an amazing experience. I know Lara’s family pretty well. They’re all from “…good stock.” Prayer is a wonderful thing, and it will provide comfort and support.
      Thank you for sharing.

  7. Jeff, thank you for putting into words what many of us experienced as we followed Scott and Lara’s journey through the valley of the shadows of death. They knew they were never alone and shared the Sonshine that broke through and guided them every step of the way with the rest of us. Such an incredible family, such an incredible faith to share the Good News we need to hear and hold as we walk along the fringes of the shadow.
    Christ’s Peace, Brother of the Heart

    • Patricia,
      Thank you, and so good to hear from you! What a journey it was..and will continue to be. Walking “…along the fringes of the shadow.” You summed it up!

  8. Thank you, Jeff, for sharing Scott and Lara’s story. After my time at Dubuque Theological Seminary I served as a pastor for 40 years, and though I did all the things a pastor does, I experienced the real depths of grief when my wife of 35 years died of cancer at the age of 56. It has been 14 years and though I have a good life now, I still shed tears. Lara, you and your children will be in our prayers.

    • Jon,
      Thank you so much for reading the blog and for sharing your story. Yes…we see and experience a lot in ministry, and then we experience the pain ourselves. I remember a NT professor telling us that the toughest people we’d ever have to minister to were our own families. He was right. And…tears are good!

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