Dear Third Church Friends,

The Season of Advent serves a dual purpose. In it, we prepare to welcome the Babe of Bethlehem AND the returning Lord of lords and King of kings. The Babe usually wins the popularity contest if we measure the amount of time and attention we give to those two important phases in Jesus’ relationship to us and our world. The Babe frightens us way less than the “One coming on the clouds in glory.” That second vision should comfort rather than bring fear to the believer; but even we faithful folks prefer the known Babe to the unknown Lord. Still, we acknowledge that we move between these two perspectives in this season.

Similarly, we are journeying through an interesting dichotomy in 2020. We have been and continue to be challenged, battered, and beaten down by several social realities this year (Yathink?!?). As it relates to Covid-19, we are kind of in an in-between time. We’re closing in on eight months of dealing with this nasty bug and 300,000 national deaths. Things seem to be getting worse and not better. At the same, vaccines are making their way to care providers, soon to be pumped into our weary arms. We know we have several (how many?) more months of hunkering-down ahead of us. AND a light is shining way off in the darkness of the tunnel we are in. Just like the prophet of old encouraged people then, we can’t take our eyes off the hope light we are glimpsing.

What an in-between time it is. We are going to make it!! If Covid-19 doesn’t kill us first. As negative a turn as things have taken in New York, we continue to do better than almost any other state. Yay, NY!! We at Third Church have remained VERY cautious for the whole time, and we will stay that course; perhaps even tightening restrictions for a bit again. Providentially, we have seen fit to do a lot of advance prep for the season already. We have PLENTY of work left to do, but we’re not scrambling to revamp our plans at this point. We remain steadfast in doing whatever we can to provide a fitting time of worship, opportunities for fellowship and education, and carrying out our ministries in a time when they are needed more than ever.

John the Baptist gets two weeks of mention in the lectionary this year. He lived and served in the time in between Jesus’ birth and the start of his Methodist-style ministry in his world. This week, I will be sharing how I think John provides Christians with a really important model for faithful living…by being something we have often been instructed not to be: a finger-pointer. I will try to make the case for excusing John’s behavior and encouraging us to follow his example. Hope to “see” you at worship.

Advent Blessings,
Pastor Zomermaand
pastorz@thirdpresbyterian.org
Office: 585-271-6513, ext. 105; Cell: 618-606-1053 (after hours; emergencies)