Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40
BEING THE BODY OF CHRIST: Well, that was a very interesting Sunday. It’s the first time Rebekah and I have experienced cancellation of Sunday services because of snow, but – with the temperatures remaining below freezing – our parking lot was literally one huge sheet of ice. Our facilities team could not sign off on a safe campus, so we reluctantly “called” both services of worship.
Rebekah and I showed up anyway, just in case anyone missed the news. But first we went next door to my mum and dad’s house, where we shared a half hour of family worship – along with Jeff and Emmaline Simpson who happened by.
It’s a strange sight to see a completely empty parking lot at WFPC on a Sunday morning. So Rebekah and I went to both worship spaces, the CLC and the sanctuary, we prayed God’s blessing on all the people, and we felt their absence keenly.
Before we left, several folk from the hospitality ministry team showed up (above), preparing to host several at-risk families for the Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network. So, while we didn’t meet as a body this weekend for worship, Wake Forest Presbyterian was still very much BEING the church.
FEEDING THE HUNGRY: After lunch I returned to the church to join the growing crowd of folk gathering to serve others. The kitchen was busy with people preparing food for this week’s guests, and also for the hungry in Raleigh.
I’m guessing there were 5o people in the Christian Life Center Sunday, fixing up sleeping quarters, organizing play areas for the children, sorting clothing, and getting everything ready for our mission downtown.
Close to 30 of us loaded up trucks and vans with tables, clothing, food, and “to-go” blessing bags for distribution, then headed to the park in the space between the state legislature and the governor’s mansion.
Crews shoveled snow, removed ice, set up tables, cleaned and dried eating surfaces, made coffee, welcomed guests, and shared the good news of the Gospel of Love… and encouragement… and grace… and service… and presence… and hope.
DOING FAITH: So while missing out on corporate worship as a body left a huge hole in my Sunday, the members of Wake Forest Presbyterian Church were busy “doing” faith.
- We can argue all we like about doctrine, about nuances of theology, about what verses in the Bible we like to push, and what passages we’d rather not talk about; and we can point fingers at other Christians and say, “you have it wrong!” and, “we have it right!”; and we can play judgement games, and we can repeat trite generalizations designed to suggest those we disagree with don’t believe in Jesus, or “the authority of scripture;” and we can quarrel, fight, bicker, squabble, wrangle, dispute, and feud – all day long, and some will.
- Or… we can simply be the body of Christ, do the work of faith, and live the Gospel of Love – with conviction and joy.
That’s what I see around here, at WFPC. We’re certainly not right about everything – no one, and no church is – but we’re really big on the being, the doing, and the living – with conviction and with joy!
It’s an approach to being a disciple, and following Jesus, that I’d highly recommend – DEREK
Here’s the prayer I prayed with the mission team before we left the church to head downtown:
Loving God, we are so thankful to be part of a church that stands as such a consistent, faithful witness to your good news in Jesus.We are grateful for this reconciled relationship with God that we celebrate here at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church; we are grateful for the positive spirit of life that lights up this campus; and we’re grateful for the privilege it is to live in a land of such freedom and opportunity.Please be with us this afternoon, as we seek to make the most of this opportunity to live into our freedom by serving those who need some extra support, and encouragement, and nourishment along the wayThank you for the good folk who have prepared this meal, for the generous hearts that have provided the resources, and for the willing hands that are here today, ready to serve.Please be with us as we recommit ourselves again, this day, to live as disciples, as intentional followers of the living way of Jesus – and please shine the light of your good news on all that we do, as we follow the words of Paul in Philippians, “Shining like stars in the universe, as we hold out the word of life.”In the name of Jesus, who gives us new life – Amen.
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.