Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:12-17
Note: the fact that Monday’s story about this weekend’s tragic loss has garnered over 8,000 hits in the past two days says less about my writing and more about the deep hunger we all have to understand, “this brittle interface between mortality and eternity.” Click here to read.
Old Hope Made New – Old (crusty) Foundations and New (vibrant) Life:
I may be a writer, but one of my most enjoyable freelance jobs is “official photographer” for the Presbytery of New Hope. “New Hope” is a great name mostly because it’s so true. This blend of old and new, of traditional and contemporary, or tried-and-true and cutting-edge, is totally Presbyterian in character.
That’s why not only the name of the Presbytery but also the location of this month’s meeting are both perfect metaphors for what God is continually up to in the context of the Presbyterian Church in and around Raleigh.
You’ll have to take a close look at some of these photographs to understand how powerful an image this is. First Presbyterian Church of Raleigh has done a masterful job in recent years of modernizing the campus and making it accessible while honoring the architecture and the tradition of its late 19th-century core.
So in today’s post, I want to highlight both this beautiful facility and the inspirational spirit of love and mission that animates our Presbyterian contribution to the ministry of the Body of Christ.
One hundred seventy of my photos are featured on New Hope’s Facebook page, but I have deliberately limited myself to around twenty for today’s post. You can scroll through and get a sense of the day’s events just by looking, but I’m also going to add a few words here by way of commentary.
It’s All About Jesus:
Sometimes church bodies get distracted by disagreements, forget about what really matters, and allow themselves to get tied up in knots around judgment and politics.
Oh, we’re certainly not immune from this kind of heartache, but I can honestly say – over the almost five years we’ve been in New Hope – that my overarching impression of the work of this body is that of celebrating God’s love, making disciples, and encouraging one another as we seek to serve God in and through the church.
Jesus, like the ancient church stones in the photographs, is the foundation and the cornerstone of our faith. At the same time, it is Jesus who continually sings a new song in our hearts and who interfaces with the contemporary world in the way cutting-edge architecture, modern buildings, and new initiatives bring new life.
Jesus, like the ancient church stones in the photographs, is the foundation and the cornerstone of our faith. At the same time, it is Jesus who continually sings a new song in our hearts…
It is my experience that these things come together beautifully in the life and witness of the Presbyterian Church. I am always inspired by our meetings and I am deeply grateful for the relationships Rebekah and I are building here in North Carolina.
Enjoy the photographs, and – always – celebrate God’s mercy and love in fresh, timeless, ways – DEREK
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.