reflections on an exceptional blessing

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed are the people who take refuge in him! – Psalm 34:8

1-IMG_2549I won’t be home for another day, but I’d like to post this testimony to the deeply beautiful grace that visited me this morning, at the very end of my retreat with the men from Delaware, Ohio.

I’ll write more about the weekend when I’m back in Wake Forest, but for now I’m still feeling a serendipitous glow from the literal last breaths of our closing worship service.

One of the attendees was George Alexander. George is the youngest – and only remaining – of the five Alexander brothers (Pete, Billy, Robert, Charles, George). Rev Bob Alexander was Rebekah’s father, Rev Charles Alexander served as a missionary in Brazil.

George – an ordained Presbyterian minister – served communion after I gave the message, wrapping up my teaching series. Then, as the service concluded, we stood together to offer the charge and benediction.

I stood behind the communion table with George and I glanced to my left. There – in that moment –  I realized the wonderful privilege that was mine to stand with the last of that great generation of Alexander brothers and participate in the blessing he shared with the men. I’ll have to admit I had to fight back the rising lump in my throat.

I am not an Alexander, I am a Maul. But in that beautiful moment I felt the weight of the hand of my father-in-law, Bob, on my shoulder; I felt the presence of uncle Charlie, too; and I felt the blessing of the Alexander heritage settle on me, just for a moment, as I was privileged to do ministry together with uncle George (and while Rebekah was sharing God’s good word with hundreds of people in Wake Forest).

Then, my friend Chuck and I drove back to Delaware and enjoyed dinner with his wife, Peggy, their minister, and her husband (Deb and Brian).

Thanks, Delaware Ohio, for blessing me. God has his hand on you – I know this for a fact.

In gratitude, and with love – DEREK


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