To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. – Isaiah 61:3
It’s not only the children who are singing praises this week (“Sweet Hosannas“), it’s all of creation. Springtime here around Wake Forest is continuing to be this picture-perfect combination of 60-degrees, exploding color, sunshine, light rains, and promise. I honestly couldn’t make this any more wonderful if I tried!
So Monday, still aching from gardening Friday and Saturday, we spent a few more hours outside, finishing up a screening project to visually improve the underside of the deck. Rebekah did most of the work, while I walked around to capture some images of North Carolina in early April.
If you live around here, you already know how fortunate we are; you can just poke your head outside your own house to see something similar; but the rest of you may want to peruse these photographs. Then you’re probably going to want to move here; all this beauty, plus WFPC every Sunday – it’s win-win!
This past week we’ve seen an explosion of color, and I’ve been completely blown away by the power and the intensity of the seasonal transformation. This is our fourth Wake Forest April, so I thought by now it would be routine; but it turns out that – just like the way each new chapter of my life renews me – the seasonal shifts invigorate my spirit too.
It’s our fourth April in North Carolina, and this past week we’ve seen an explosion of color – I’ve been completely blown away by the power and the intensity of the seasonal transformation.
I’m thinking this is maybe an extension of the spiritual growth I’ve been experiencing during Lent. Self examination has been a more natural extension of my identity as a disciple this time around. So, you never know, maybe – just like the garden here at Maul Hall – I’m finally beginning to grow into some kind of maturity.
Wherever you find yourself today, take the time between now and Sunday – Palm Sunday – getting yourself ready for Holy Week and Easter. Beauty for ashes; new life all around us; the promise of resurrection; the constant invitation to grow.
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.