This was an interesting weekend. So much to think about. I know I tend to overload my longsuffering readers with too much detail sometimes, but I genuinely don’t know what to leave out and where to begin.
So I guess I’ll start with the scripture. We are moving along through Lent, and Easter is fast approaching. Or, as Rebekah put it in her message this past Sunday, “The Plot Thickens.”
One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, told them, “You don’t know anything! You don’t see that it is better for you that one man die for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed.” He didn’t say this on his own. As high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would soon die for the nation— and not only for the nation. Jesus would also die so that God’s children scattered everywhere would be gathered together as one.
My mind immediately went to the Saturday morning men’s group I attend. One of the guys shared a list of reasons Jesus is not accepted by most Jews, one of which is that Messiah is supposed to unify the Chosen People. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the scripture from John 11 reminds us that Jesus does in fact gather us together as one – the caveat being that it is not necessary to be Jewish to be included as one of God’s children.
The passage reminded me of our tendency to promote exclusivity, and our constant effort to gear that exclusivity toward ourselves, our own point of view, our personal prejudices, lines that we have drawn in the sand. It’s all very well for God to talk about being the door, the gate, the way, and the life… but we know better, we know where to draw the line. Jesus can make all the noise he wants to about being the gate, but we were the self-assigned gatekeepers, and we are always so very happy to slam the gate shut whenever we get the chance.
Baptism and more…
The youngest children flood to the front of the church for their special time, and in the second service they sit on the floor to watch the baptism. Both parents joining the church by making a profession of faith in Jesus, and then both children are recognized as a part of God’s family in baptism, nervous and excited, warned how wet they would get but not quite believing it until they were.
It is always a beautiful moment when we remember that we are God’s children together. Rebekah introduced the boys as her brothers and then she preached about how Jesus has made that possible.
In more family news, Naomi surprised Rebekah by showing up at WFPC with David and Beks. My dad was also able to be at worship, the first time in a few months. It was a short visit from the grands, but we got in some good play time including an hour at the park.
Life really is a huge circle, the very young and the very old, the robust and the fragile, time and eternity, now we know in part but then we will understand completely, I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end…
So much to be grateful for, and yet so much where we need to ask for your prayers. The bottom line is that God is faithful, our grandchildren are beyond amazing, and we are delighted to be serving God here in this place at this time.
Here are a few more photos from the weekend. Peace and blessings, always – 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.