Living in the In-Between

Dear Friends,
In Sunday’s sermon, I mentioned the tension of living in the Advent season. Advent’s focus is on Christ’s coming into the world again, with power and glory. Much of our December is spent in preparations for the birth of Jesus—decorating, baking, gift lists, etc. We can get overwhelmed by all the work involved in creating “the perfect Christmas.”

What would our December look like if we prepared for Christ’s second Advent into the world? How would we worship and work together for this great hope to be fulfilled?

It can be hard to live in the in-between-times, wondering when and how the renewal of all things will occur. It leads to lots of questions that faithful followers of Jesus have been asking for years. In the sermon, I lifted up to you the 3 Ws of Advent: Waiting, with alertness instead of complacency; Watching, which is a word that denotes action, not just passive window-watching; and Wakefulness, not sleeping on our watch, but anticipating Christ’s arrival.

These are also good Ws to follow during the “in-between pastors” time. My title here at FPC is Transitional Pastor. Its very name indicates something is about to happen! Things are changing. You are moving from one pastor and preparing for a new one. During this time, I encourage you to wait and watch with patience, leaning into this time of learning and growing. Keep active in the church. I know it’s difficult during this Covid-19 season to be active, especially now that we are going back to Virtual Worship Only beginning this Sunday; however, there is more to discipleship than attending worship on Sunday morning. Consider asking someone to be a prayer partner or join one of the Bible studies. Write cards to our shut-ins or pick up the phone and give another member a call just to chat a bit. Check in with your staff who are working so hard during this time. Offer an extra dose of thanks to our amazing Tech Team for bringing worship to wherever you are at whatever time is convenient for you! Find ways to wait and watch actively.

One of the most popular questions people ask during the transitional pastor time is When is the new pastor coming? Not surprising! The unsatisfying – but Presbyterian – answer is In God’s time. But it’s true! There is a process that has many steps. The first step is forming the Mission Study Team, which Session has recently approved. That group will work with me on discerning who FPC Lexington is now and the direction you sense God is leading you as a congregation. This will take time. It will include a survey, small group gatherings (by Zoom, most likely), and it counts on a lot of your input. Be wakeful to opportunities to participate in the New Year. It is such an exciting season for you as you remember your roots and look toward your future as faithful followers of Jesus.

With joy for the journey,
Pastor Nancy Jo Dederer
Transitional Pastor