Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who made the promises is reliable. – Hebrews 10:23
January 3 – I guess it’s about time to write my first post for the New Year. The Alexander family reunion up in the mountains was the perfect way to both end 2016 and begin 2017, but there was simply no opportunity for me to sit down and write.
So, now we are back home in Wake Forest, there’s a lot to share. We had fifteen of Rebekah’s immediate family most of the time, twenty for a few hours Sunday afternoon, eighteen for a memorable dinner Sunday evening.
The house we rented was spectacular. Perched literally on the top of a beautiful gorge, room for everyone, unbelievable mountain views, a huge kitchen, conversation areas all over the place, and one enormous dining room table – perfect for just being together, hanging out, and reunion-ing.
Saturday a bunch of us invaded the delightful small town of Brevard, North Carolina, and there were a few hiking expeditions; but for the most part everyone enjoyed the house, each other, and the opportunity to catch up.
That afternoon, in a quite unexpected serendipity, Rebekah’s cousins Ruth and Shafe (Charles Alexander) both showed up, along with Shafe’s wife and two of his children. Other than his mother Ellen’s funeral – five and a half years ago – I haven’t really spent any time with Shafe for several decades.
It was all good; but my main focus for this post is the context that underlay absolutely everything about the weekend, and that context was – that context is – our common faith.
Sunday, it was my turn to prepare the evening meal, and I decided to bring all the ingredients not only to make my spaghetti sauce from scratch, but the pasta too. Consequently, I really needed to begin cooking around 10:30 in the morning, and that was going to make driving 20 miles to church almost impossible.
So I organized worship together as a family, assigning different parts to different people, and centered around an interactive message where I simply asked a good question that six to eight people responded to (not surprisingly), beautifully.
Here’s the scripture I read to get the ball rolling:
Brothers and sisters, we have confidence that we can enter the holy of holies by means of Jesus’ blood, through a new and living way that he opened up for us through the curtain, which is his body, and we have a great high priest over God’s house. Therefore, let’s draw near with a genuine heart with the certainty that our faith gives us, since our hearts are sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies are washed with pure water. Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who made the promises is reliable.And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.
And that is where we are as a family. We hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who is in the business of making, and keeping, the promises is beyond reliable.
Like I said, I can’t think of a better context for launching another New Year. – DEREK
(here are a few more iPhone pics. Tomorrow I should have discovered the treasures on my Nikon!)
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.