In the Wilderness

Dear Friends,
 
Welcome to Lent. The First Sunday in Lent tells the story of Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days, where he is tempted by Satan. Churches in transition often relate well to the feeling of wilderness. They are between two pastors, wondering how much longer until we get there? Whether it is like Jesus fasting in the desert or the Israelites wandering around for 40 years, the wilderness can be filled with pitfalls and challenges, not to mention heartache and impatience.
 
What can I say to that?
 
1. The transition takes time. Your Mission Study Team is hard at work, meeting weekly, looking at community and congregational demographics, charting a map of where our members live, and asking questions about who FPC Lexington is and where God is guiding the church toward the future. Soon, you will be asked to take a survey that will be extremely valuable in learning from the congregation your sense of the church’s identity, strengths, and challenges. Your eager participation aids in completing the Mission Study Report. The time taken in preparation is time well spent and leads to a long and healthy relationship with your pastor-to-be.
 
2. Keep your eyes and heart centered on God. That will help keep you from succumbing to the temptations of complaining, being ambivalent, or checking out altogether. Pray. Imagine what God might be saying to you and your church in this time. What is God teaching you or the church in this in- between time? What are you learning about your neighbor? How are you growing as a disciple of Jesus? How are you still sharing Jesus’ love, even in the midst of the pandemic?
 
3. Recognize the gifts in the wilderness. For the Israelites it was manna, quail, and water from a rock. They were also gifted with the Ten Commandments. For Jesus, there were angels who attended him. What gifts in this wilderness time have been offered to you? What gifts are you giving to others to ease their strain?
 
4. God is with you. Jesus walks alongside us in this time of uncertainty. The Holy Spirit equips us with what we need to keep worshiping, serving, and growing in our faith. All in the name of Christ.
Grace and peace to you on this Lenten Journey,
 
Pastor Nancy
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer
Transitional Pastor