Transitory Talk from Pastor Z: January 2021

OK, so not everything has changed…yet. In fact, life feels a lot like it did last week and last month. Still, something really hopeful rises up in me when I imagine myself shaking the dust of last year off my sandals right now. Just as I couldn’t resist talking about 20/20 vision a year ago, hardly a conversation is completed these days without referring to the light at the end of the tunnel as we begin this new year. If I were a betting person (which I am not), I would wager my life savings on the notion that 2021 will end way better than the nameless year just put to rest. We’ve got a long way to go, but this is an “I told you so” moment that I am so longing to share.

How do we get there? By remaining dutifully diligent and abundantly cautious in our individual and communal activities. It’s a challenge!! I can confidently say that I feel your pain. My itinerant lifestyle has kept me from close physical interactions with my wife and family since we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary last February. I haven’t been home long enough since then to pass the quarantine threshold. I expect that our 37th will be commemorated in a similar socially-distant fashion. I have chosen this goofball lifestyle, so I have only myself to blame. However, I am SO looking toward to the day when I will be able to envelop my wife and kiddies with my famous Daddy bearhug again. Maybe by the end of May when my daughter, Emily, walks across the stage at the University of Illinois to receive her PhD and MD degrees??

Third Church has not been just marking time since March of the year we won’t name. How much has changed!! Yet, how much has remained constant. Like stellar worship carried on week after week. Like hungry people who have been fed almost EVERY Thursday and Saturday. Like questions being raised and decisions made about how Third Church can contribute to the ending of systemic racism in our community. Like a Theologian in “Residence” weekend that celebrated Third Church’s leadership in, and continued commitment to, the rights of LGBTQIA+ folks among us. Like Holiday worship in which I would swear (if I were a swearing person) that I could taste and smell the season through my computer screen. Like… Like… Like…

Third Church can plan on seeing more changes in 2021. My job is to work myself out of a job, and I intend to do so at some point this year. We’ve bid adieu to key staff members recently. Two or three or four new faces will show up as 2021 unfolds, including the occupant of my chair. I am keying in these words in mid-December, so just exactly the timeline on all that remains a bit foggy. I can say this for sure: a couple of major steps in the Presby plan that we follow WILL occur this month (January 2021). Covid-19 has prohibited the usual kinds of face-to-face gatherings that find their way into my version of the process. AND people have been working vigorously, mostly behind the scenes, to push the campaign along. Thus, if I were a betting person…, I would wager a year’s worth of ice cream on my prediction about January actions. You can expect to hear much more on that score soon. 2021 will be a better year! Can’t wait to say, I told you so!!

Blessings, Pastor Zomermaand