Celebration and Tears

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

– Derek Maul

The recipe for a good party is quite easy: Invite some wonderful people. That’s it; the rest of the evening takes care of itself. I did stack the deck somewhat by preparing great food; lots of really great food, all built around some amazing pulled pork BBQ from Big Al’s. Thanks, Big Al.

This was the Maul-Hall reception for out-of-town guests coming to Wake Forest for Rebekah’s retirement celebration. People have driven in from all over, including Tennessee, Virginia, Washington DC, Florida, and Minnesota, representing both the Pensacola and the Brandon congregations.

Our big disappointment is that Frank and Sylvia Beall had to cancel their trip from Pensacola. Frank – who was scheduled to participate in worship this morning – is the wonderful senior pastor Rebekah worked with at Trinity in Pensacola; he was both mentor and permission giver, creating just the right environment for Rebekah to grow and thrive.

But we did have a house full of great friends, good people who are living wonderful stories, and who we are grateful to know and love.

– Rebekah putting the final touches on this morning’s message at WFPC

All I can say this morning is how grateful I am for not just this amazing congregation here in Wake Forest, but for the The Church – the faithful, sprawling, united but disparate, always reforming, struggling, stumbling, forgiven, deeply loved by God body of believers who follow Jesus and who share God’s message of reconciling love with the world.

Watch this space Monday, and I will tell you how the day went. And, if you can’t be with us in person today, join in the worship service via Facebook LiveFeed.

This is going to be really hard. But today is also going to be a great occasion of worship, of good news, of promise, and of love – DEREK

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