I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” – Psalm 122:1
In 2006, during the great Maul family cruise to Alaska, Rebekah and I scheduled an educational hike in the rain forest near Sitka. So the four of us – me, Rebekah, Andrew, and Naomi – enjoyed an interesting, energetic, at times challenging, three-mile hike over some beautiful Alaskan terrain.
Later, someone asked Naomi why she had passed up the opportunity to take one of the more exotic shore excursions in favor of a family hike? Her answer was simple, and extremely telling:
She spent the day hiking with her family, she said, because, “That’s what Mauls do.”
2015: Labor Day Weekend is slated to be another family-themed occasion. Last week we got together with all the extended Alexanders for Myrt’s memorial service (The art of Family and the joy of celebrating life); this week our gathering is on the “Maul” side.
My niece Hannah (my late brother Geoff’s only child) flew in from Florida yesterday, along with her husband, Andrew, and two of their four children. Then Naomi is driving down from Richmond with David and Beks (Craig has to stay behind and work).
The reunion won’t be complete, but Andrew and Alicia’s sojourn to the nether regions of Uzbekistan more than qualifies as a reasonable excuse; so I’ll just post a recent picture (Alicia bicycling in Tashkent) to keep the “epic adventurers” in the conversation!
Here in North Carolina, Labor Day Weekend is the official “last mad rush” of the summer, and everyone seems to disappear to the mountains or to the shore for one more weekend before settling in to the routines of the fall. So we’re thrilled that our family is coming to Wake Forest, and that we’ll be able to worship together Sunday morning, bringing the heart of “what it means to be a Maul” into clear focus one more time.
THE HEART: Worship together is an integral element of our family ethos. It doesn’t matter if we are at home, visiting relatives, on vacation, or even cruising in the middle of some ocean; regardless of where we are, we will present ourselves before God – as a family – to give thanks and praise. Because – and this has been our chosen family priority since before I was even on the radar as a baby – “That’s what Mauls do.”
Mauls do this (and Alexanders too, by the way) because of two simple truths. One: God has chosen us. Two: we have chosen God.
There is no other single factor in family life with more power to keep us grounded, to teach us the ways of love, and to equip us to live fully engaged lives as blessed children of the Creator.
This is true for every family under the sun. And if worship – as a family, and with a faith community – is not your most valued priority, then I have to say that you are missing out on something deeply beautiful, a commitment that goes to the root of a family life that works.
Besides, as our daughter Naomi said – “It’s what Mauls do.”
I’ll see you in church – DEREK