I will bless the foreigners… and bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem
and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer.
I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices,
because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations. – Isaiah 56:6-8
One of the great challenges of being “Official Photo Dude” for The Presbytery of New Hope is having so many usable images at the end of the day. All the good ones will be posted by the Presbytery, but here in my blog I have to pare them down to a manageable few.
So I’m going to break this into two posts. First, I’ll share the beginning of the day, including worship, then later I’ll write about the business (but still all about exciting ministry) portion of the meeting.
Our host, this quarter, was the Korean Presbyterian congregation at Duraleigh Presbyterian Church. Their hospitality was warm and generous, the ushers dressed in traditional costume, and the worship service was celebrated in Korean, Spanish, and English.
With so much division in our nation right now, and with so much nationalism – along with hostility and rejection – being voiced when it comes to immigration and the rich cultural – and religious- diversity that makes America strong, the multicultural worship together was not only refreshing but demonstrative of deep theological truth.
We carry the banner of HOPE!
I believe the photographs I selected will tell the story with clarity, but I would like to highlight one point from the Korean pastor’s sermon. He preached about hope, using the illustration of a standard bearer in battle. Even though it is dangerous sometimes to pick up and carry the colors, and fire is drawn to the one holding the flag, such action brings courage and hope to others engaged in the fight.
Our opportunity is to pick up the colors, raise the flag, hold high the standard of Jesus – and as we do this the ministry of the church will offer hope and bring courage to the world.
I’m honestly not fond of Onward Christian Soldiers and militaristic themes for the church, but I am a huge fan of hope and I know beyond any doubt that if we have the courage to raise the standard of Jesus then anything is possible, absolutely anything at all.
- One extra-special serendipity was running into Claire Chipman. Claire was one of our youth in Brandon, Florida, and part of one of my favorite families of all time. Today she is working on her doctorate over in Chapel Hill, serving as an elder at University Presbyterian Church. Claire was attending this meeting of Presbytery as a commissioner, along with a group of twenty-somethings. It does my heart good to see the quality work God is accomplishing with and through some of these young lives.
Peace and more – 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.