As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,Zechariah 9:11-12
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
today I declare that I will restore to you double.
Three short stories from a good weekend:
First, to follow up on yesterday’s “Reality Begins to set in” post, Sunday morning at WFPC was all kinds of wonderful. Attendance has shot up (as restrictions continue to relax and more people are vaccinated and confident) and that wonderful “buzz” of love and anticipation is growing as more and more people gather.
As Rebekah offers her final Top Ten messages, an interesting dynamic is unfolding. Each sermon has built on the previous one, as if there is a deliberate thread running through the series.
Of course, Rebekah is always looking through the lens of today, and specifically this church, when she prepares to preach, so I should not be surprised to see how it is all interconnected.
There is a deep subtext to this whole closing series of sermons, and – essentially – it is this: “Not only has God’s love and faithfulness been abundantly evident over these past few years, God has some amazing plans and opportunities for this church going forward, and here (in these sermons) is the frame of mind – the frame of spirit – God is calling us into as a vibrant, believing, hope-filled faith community.”
And this is why the above scripture came to my mind. We may have felt like prisoners of COVID for the past year and a half, but in reality we are defined by this truth – like Zechariah, We Are Prisoners of Hope!
It is well known that I am a needle-averse chicken! However – and this is important – my reluctance to be stuck does nothing to change the fact that blood is always in short supply and we are the only people in a position to help.
So I showed up for the WFPC blood drive. It is no coincidence that we schedule the opportunity to give on a communion Sunday. Blood is truly the gift of life, and this is both a spiritual and a practical reality. What better way to thank God for Christ’s ultimate gift than to share life with others by rolling up our sleeves?
Wake Forest Presbyterian Church remains one of the leading contributors among faith-based organizations in the Raleigh area. In a sense, this is an important element of our community outreach.
If you haven’t donated in a while, please make plans to do so as soon as possible.
Every once in a while I try to sneak in a selfie with Max. But he has long since tired of what he considers to be an intrusive exercise, and does his best to sabotage the shoot.
He yawns, he turns away from the camera, he lays down on the ground, he puts his head behind mine. It’s like he knows exactly what I’m looking for and then does the opposite!
Personally, I kind of like the series of avoidance photos better than the ones that work.
Like I said, it was a good weekend. I am especially excited about what is happening at church. I hope so much that we can enjoy the opportunity to be fully together, restrictions in the rearview mirror, before we say goodbye.
Regardless, Rebekah has six more sermons to share. Do not miss out on the opportunity to be there, in person, as often as you can.
Peace, love, grace, and promise – 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.