How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,Psalm 133:1-3
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore.
If preparing for Christmas is best defined by “expectation,” then how appropriate is it that the first week of Advent also marked WFPC’s initial “in-person” Sunday morning worship experience? We have a lot of expectation, going forward, we have a lot of hope, we are experiencing a lot of promise.
Granted, it was seriously cold at the 8:30 service; but the sun was shining, and hearts were warm, and everyone was so outrageously happy to be together that the congregation broke into spontaneous applause after the benediction!
Then we did it again at 10:00 and – oh my goodness – there was such a genuine spirit of love and gratitude simply in response to the experience of community.
Everyone followed all the COVID guidelines – religiously (including ushers enthusiastically wielding 6-ft+ poles to establish distance between family pods) – while simultaneously and desperately wanting to hug absolutely every single person they saw. Love multiplied by proximity animated our time together like static generates electricity, building and then jumping the spaces between us like mini bolts of lightning. I swear if we had met in the dark love alone would have illuminated the space.
This is our church doing it’s absolute best to be The Church and to be a living, breathing community. Neither ministry nor mission has slowed down at all during this pandemic, and that includes worship, Bible-study, outreach, feeding the hungry, youth ministry, children’s programs… you name it.
But the experience of worship together, and the mutual encouragement that comes from at least some kind of (modified) physical presence is the glue – the magic-sauce if you will – that pumps even more life and energy into everything.
And so I am not only expectant this first week of Advent, I am also profoundly thankful for such a taste – a foretaste – of the beauty that is our amazing church.
In love, and because love holds us together – DEREK
Enjoy these images from Sunday morning:
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.