Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1
- Every last one of us can be wrong to some degree when it comes to the fine details of practicing faith. So we need – constantly – to live in a posture of humility and of reform.
- We are, as our young families class describes themselves, Stumbling Disciples. But we believe we’re stumbling faithfully, and under grace, as honest and authentic witnesses to the grace and the mercy of Jesus.
When Rebekah first had the outlandish idea of inviting these celebrities to church she thought “Why not? I can at least give it a try.” You know, like calling the Palace to see if Queen Elizabeth might possibly be available for dinner. A long shot, yes, but if you don’t ask… you’ll never know.
So anyway, she asked. And, big surprise, she got a positive response from all three. No, not the Queen of England, but much more noteworthy guests for this epic 500th anniversary Reformation Sunday. I don’t know how she pulled it off, but Rebekah got into contact with Martin Luther, John Calvin, and then John Knox. And – believe it or not – it turned out all three were available for Sunday services at WFPC yesterday morning.
“If you’re coming all this way,” Rebekah said, “then you might as well preach.” So they did, sharing their message interactively, answering questions from a couple of our confirmation students.
The Reformation may have first been launched via Luther’s ministry in Germany, but it was the work of Calvin (Switzerland) and Knox (Scotland) that laid the foundation for the Presbyterian Church we’re a part of today.
All three reformers felt a warm welcome in worship Sunday morning. They also told me they were both encouraged and pleased to see the genuine passion for following Jesus that defines us as a body of believers.
Also, the trio of reformers had never before experienced such a rich variety of music. The introit was sung by a college acapella group (Seraphim, led by Karen Adkins). Then Duncan Frazier strode in playing his bagpipes (just a day after winning a national piping competition). The handbell choir played two anthems. Finally, congregational singing was led by our remarkably talented Praise Band (9:00), and then via choir and piano for more traditional hymns at 11:00.
All told, the entire campus resounded with praise to God and evidence of dynamic new life in Jesus.
But we’re nowhere near perfect!
Don’t misunderstand the intent of these posts. Wake Forest Presbyterian is nowhere near a perfect church. But – and this is the point – we are most certainly a reformed and reforming body of believers. It doesn’t matter if we’re Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Episcopalian, or some other flavor, every last one of us can be wrong to some degree when it comes to the fine details of practicing faith. So we need – constantly – to live in a posture of humility and of reform.
What makes me so happy to be a part of this church is how aware we are of our need to reform. We are, as our young families class describes themselves, Stumbling Disciples. But we believe we’re stumbling faithfully, and under grace, as honest and authentic witnesses to the grace and the mercy of Jesus.
So thanks so much to Martin Luther and his two friends for showing up at WFPC this weekend. You are welcome to worship with us at any time!
(scenes from Reformation Sunday at WFPC)
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.