Greetings, Third Church Friends!

We have now officially entered the season of Lent. Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday this year looked and felt nothing like normal; but Lent has arrived just the same. Folks often ask where the name, Lent, originated. It carries no religious significance. Rather, it has to do with the time of year when it occurs. Though it’s not actually the depth of winter, we continue to travel through the season of darkness and cold that precedes spring—in the northern climes, anyway, which is where the liturgical seasons found their origin. The days are lentening, an older version of lengthening. So we are in the season of longer days, which corresponds to our spiritual journey toward Jerusalem and Jesus’ passion.

Several groups around the church (and community) are working their way through the season by reading and thinking about the devotional, Lent of Liberation: Confronting the Legacy of American Slavery, by Cheri L. Mills. We are only on the second day at this point, but I am already paying attention and learning things that challenge my view of history. Opportunities to share in the discussion are outlined in other places in this communication.

The study is causing me to think about extending our commemoration of Black History Month forward through Lent. Seems like a fitting idea as we are engaged congregationally in a year-long listening and learning process in our anti-racism efforts. Not sure yet how that will work out in terms of our worship themes, but I am giving it serious thought. If Lent directs us to be more aware of our sins and shortcomings—and racism is often called America’s original sin—seems like a pretty good use of our worship time as we continue to come to terms with the racial disparities that surround us in Rochester and in the USA.

I encourage you to embrace the opportunities around you to listen, wonder, learn, and commit to new ways of growing as Jesus’ followers at Third Church and in whatever environment God has placed you.

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