“At the heart of it all, the point Jesus made is simple and pure; it is uncomplicated and direct. The gospel message is an elegant, uncompromising invitation to live.” – REACHING TOWARD EASTER: Devotions for Lent (p. 18)
Back in Florida, my neighbor directly across the street – Alan – had an unusual way of describing a golfing partner’s errant shot. “You need to work on your towards,” he’d say. He used other choice words when his own shots went awry, but I don’t intend on sharing them here!
Alan’s understanding of towards is a powerful truth when we consider this path we’re navigating during the season of Lent – and Ash Wednesday was the exact right way to get the journey off to a focused, worshipful beginning. I often use the concept of trajectory in my writing, and the correct sense of “towards” is essential to our spiritual practice as Followers of the Living Way.
GOOD DAY: Ash Wednesday was a good day all around. I played guitar at both the morning and the evening worship services; we shared lunch with our faith community; we enjoyed the company of more than 200 wonderful people at WFPC‘s youth pancake supper.
But there was one moment during evening worship where everything came together in a divine confluence of beauty and grace. I was sitting directly in front of the choir, watching the long lines of people coming forward to receive the sign of the cross on their foreheads, listening to the powerful words and rich harmonies of the anthem.
I didn’t want to miss my cue to start playing when the choir finished, so I wasn’t sure if I’d join the others waiting for the ashes. But then, as if obliged by an urgency beyond my comprehension, I knew I had to get out of my seat. It didn’t matter if I missed my cue, because this cue was more compelling.
And I found my eyes full with tears as pastor John made the sign on my forehead. Not emotion so much as fullness; or maybe surrender. Yes, that’s what happened. It was the first day of Lent and I surrendered.
Surrendered – 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.