A study in light


You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, so live your life as children of light. Light produces fruit that consists of every sort of goodness, justice, and truth. – Ephesians 5:8-9

I have an unusual “Sunday-school” class at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t mean unusual in the sense of odd, weird, or strange… but unusual as in exceptional, extraordinary, unique, noteworthy, and rare.

First, we’re not too much fond of the designation “Sunday school.” My Sunday morning peeps prefer monikers such as “adult ed,””discipleship,” and “Bible-study.” The format is very much interactive, so we’ve also referred to it as an ongoing seminar.

Bernie, Ed, Rick, Marty

Then, and this is significantly not run-of-the-mill in the world of Christian Education, I often have more men than women in attendance. This week the ratio was called to my attention by one of the women when Ed quickly switched seats after being accused of gunning for “teacher’s pet” status.

“Oh no, now he’s sitting next to Bernie!” Cynthia exclaimed; “and Rick. Good Lord, there are four of them in a row!”

She was right. Yes, I taught middle school and I understand it’s always best to keep the perpetrators separate, but these are all grown men! Of course it’s not disruption so much as great banter, fun, verve, exuberance. Or as Dick Van Dyke pointed out to Julie Andrews, excusing something the children were up to, “Just a bit of high spirits, Mary Poppins, just a bit of high spirits…”

And why wouldn’t we approach talking about and living our faith with high spirits?

Light and Life:

I’m always fascinated by light

I think what goes on in my “Practical Christianity” discipleship class (other than the fact that they are all such good people) is that we see so much light in the ongoing story of our faith, and we’re learning to see more clearly, and our growing understanding of God’s goodness and grace simplyfills us up.

As a photographer, I am fascinated by light. I’m not a fan of using a flash unless it’s absolutely necessary – because brief, artificial, bursts of light flatten depth, iron out nuance, and fail to engage the truth about the subject. Similarly, as a disciple of Jesus, I feel drawn to facilitate greater understanding of what it means to live as children of light.

This is what is happening in my Practical Christianity Sunday morning class, in the men’s groups I meet with, in weekly worship, and in the special Bible classes Rebekah offers from time to time; this is the beauty of what is going on here at WFPC in so many ways through mission and service and worship and outreach and so much more.

You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord, so live your life as children of light. Light produces fruit that consists of every sort of goodness, justice, and truth. – Ephesians 5:8-9

Sadly, there is too much emphasis in religion that effectively keeps the curtains drawn and the light out. But my experience of the Gospel is increasingly saturated with illumination. “Everything,” as Rebekah said at the conclusion of her study Monday evening, “stands in the light of Christ; the entire witness of the scriptures must be understood in relation to the invitation to be reconciled to God through Jesus.”

I’ll add my “Amen” to that – DEREK

Rebekah teaching Monday evening

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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.

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