I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven… – Jesus, Matthew 5:44-45
There is such a lot going on in the world! I could easily post two or three times a day. But don’t worry, I won’t! I have to attend to actual “I get paid for this” work. So this morning I may jump around a little.
PARIS: Sunday’s massive demonstration of solidarity against terrorism in the French capital city was a powerful – and important – moment of resolve. I wrote about this a few days ago in The Only Way to Win this thing is to Love.
I am a huge proponent of free speech, but part of me still wants to write a post titled, “Je Suis Ticked Off.” Why? Because along with freedom comes responsibility, and I am angry at the reckless irresponsibility demonstrated by the editors at Charlie Hebdo. The magazine consistently went beyond satire, dabbling in hate-speech, racism, and xenophobia; they deliberately baited extremist groups, and have in consequence made the world a more dangerous place for many people – especially those (like my children) who travel.
WAKE FOREST: The most potent resource we have to fight violence in this world is The Gospel of Love. Worship at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church yesterday was – I believe – a signal moment in the ongoing witness to God’s transformational initiatives of Grace in and through this community of faith.
First, it was John Fawcett’s first Sunday with us since he joined the pastoral staff earlier in the week. It is obvious from the get-go that John and Rebekah will work well together, and the congregation received him enthusiastically.
The church also ordained and installed a new class of elders and deacons. Such public moments of commitment, and of unity – along with prayer and the laying on of hands – make for an important statement of faith, and they demonstrate our intention to be continually guided by the Spirit as we move forward as witnesses to the transformational power of God in our midst.
BLESSED ARE…: Rebekah’s message continued her series on The Beatitudes, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Children of God.” (Matthew 5:9). Later in the same chapter, Jesus continues, “I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven…” (44-45)
Rebekah wove her sermon around the fact that we – The Church – stand as a living testimony to the work of Jesus. What the world sees when it looks at The Church is exactly what the world will understand about God’s invitation to become “Children of your Father in Heaven.”
I fell privileged to be part of a faith community where our relationship to one-another is defined by love and by peace and by unity – not anyone’s need to be right and for other people to be wrong.
Peace – and I mean that in every way – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.