- Holy Hay Day photo (above) courtesy of 124 Project
Won’t you help to sing these songs of freedom? ‘Cause all I ever have are Redemption Songs – Bob Marley
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about “Redemption Song.” Well, this weekend I covered it in church. If you want to hear what a 62-year-old formerly English guy does with a classic Bob Marley tune you can pick it up at around the 37-minute mark on this Facebook Live feed – right after Rebekah’s wonderful sermon (13-36 mins).
After church there was “Holy Hay Day” in the most spectacular 55-degrees and sunny fall weather. This is our church fall festival, and for me it was all about the Chili Cook-Off. Friendly competition between I think it was eight different ministry areas. I honestly feel that every last one of them was a winner, But I had to vote for one and what’s funny is I don’t typically go for spicy but the flavor was so good it was the one serving I absolutely had to go back for more.
Here’s what’s interesting. They were all different, all unique, all leaning more in one direction than another – but all chili.
Chili built around chicken. Chili with ground beef. Chili with steak. Vegetable Chili. Red sauce. White sauce. Chili served with cornbread. Chili with biscuits. One served with sour cream, another with cream cheese.
Lots of flavors. All completely different. All one hundred percent chili.
Earlier in the day, when I wasn’t even thinking about chili, we talked about The Church (universal) as part of my class on Christian Doctrine. We may be a group of Presbyterian Christians, and we may be learning about doctrine through a Reformed Faith lens, but we are seeking to develop an ecumenical understanding of how being a follower of Jesus makes a difference in our day-to-day lives as God’s children in a broken world.
Lots of flavors. All completely different. All one hundred percent Christian.
“If I’m right then you must be wrong”
But we live in a culture right now where if something is right then that means everything else is wrong. It’s a culture that would not stop at choosing one of the eight offerings as “the best” – but would go on to say that the other seven are not chili.
I happen to think that denominations are a good thing. After all, if you’re a vegetarian it doesn’t matter how wonderful the chicken chili is. But we have to understand that there is a lot about my church, and yours, and everyone else’s, that is flawed and confused and in need of reformation. We are human, we are prone to error, and we are equipped with limited capacity – we interact with the scriptures, with Jesus, with the Spirit, and with one another on that basis.
I may disagree with you on some of the details, but I have noted one thing about my faith as it matures over time: If I am going to make a mistake (which I do), if I am going to be in error (which I will), and if I am going to be wrong (yet again)… then I am going to fall in the direction of grace rather than judgment, and I am going to invite more people into my tent rather than show them the door.
It’s about Jesus. It’s about loving God with everything I can muster and loving my neighbor in much the same way. It is about love, kindness, grace, mercy, light, generosity, encouragement – and the invitation, the open invitation to promise and to come home.
In love, and because of love – 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.