Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. – 1 Peter 4:10
This week’s “Four Photo Monday” post is a simple celebration of gratitude for faith, community, and the presence of God in all things.
Yesterday, Rebekah’s Sermon-on-the-Mount message was especially powerful. She presented the story of how we hunger and thirst – literally ache sometimes – for God, with a persuasive clarity. Then – and this is where the first two photographs come in – God showed up in powerful ways.
PHOTO #1: First, during the 9:00 Praise Service, WFPC’s “Harmony Youth,” choir offered a beautiful rendition of a simple worship song. I wondered why the teens were remaining on stage during the pastoral prayer, but then realized they were staying to lead the congregation in the same song as our closing act of worship.
They were joined by the Praise Team, and the simple song became even more rich as layers of sound – voices, instruments, and the entire church – added a canopy of praise that became – in a sense – inhabited by God.
With somewhere around 200 people honestly, authentically, and simultaneously reaching toward God with earnest sincerity, it seemed to me that something powerful happened, collectively, in the spiritual realm – as if a God-ordained multiplier was at work.
IMAGE #2: Next, and I’ve published many such photographs over the past few months, God’s presence again satisfied our thirst for the spiritual in baptism. This time it was a pair of beautiful twin girls. Eight-months old, yet more than happy for Rebekah to take them, one at a time, for a walk into the congregation. The girls looked around confidently, joyfully, as if they too understood the significance of such a moment:
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.” – Isaiah 43:1
#3: The third photograph comes from our visit to Richmond for David’s #3 birthday. Naomi captured the image, and a number of people have remarked on how young Rebekah looks.
Well, I have this to say about age. Age is simply a number. It’s not that Rebekah looks younger than her age so much as that Rebekah is full and spilling over with love, vibrancy, spirit, passion, animation, purpose, and more. Rebekah shines because the Spirit of God is alive and active in and through who she is.
Simply put: Rebekah is what life is supposed to look like; she is God’s invitation to embrace what the Bible describes as, “Taking hold of the life that is truly life.” – 1 Timothy 6:19
PHOTO 4: Finally, we were privileged to enjoy a visit from our good Brandon friends, the Ogdens. Pat and Bill were our neighbors in Buckhorn, and they are faithful, committed, members of First Presbyterian Church, where Rebekah served from 1996-2013.
They showed up at WFPC for 11:15 worship, then we visited for a couple of hours over lunch and tea. It was so good to see them.
You see – and this is where we started this post – God shows up in powerful ways all the time; we just have to pay attention, and have our hearts wide open to receive grace. Not just to receive, but to be “good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Because of the initiatives of Grace – DEREK