From Manama to Liberia to Miami to Wake Forest: Photo-Friday

Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement he has brought us, the comfort of his love, our sharing in his Spirit, and the mercy and kindness he has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too.

In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought.

Philippians 2:1-5

Photo-Friday this week is going to be a real hodgepodge of images, plus one you will have to imagine, and I will have to paint with words.

Mr. T. in Bahrain:

“Mr. T. with his dad” – artist rendering!

I will start with the words. As some of you know, our two-year-old grandson in Bahrain, Mr. T., is shielded from the Internet (face and name). We talk with him via FaceTime, we see photos on a secure site, and sometimes we get priceless short videos.

This week’s video documented Mr. T.’s reaction to his first fireworks display. His daddy is holding him and he is completely entranced. “Fire!” he said, eyes wide with wonder. Then, “A other fire show…”

So my first picture this Photo Friday is the magical image of our son Andrew holding Mr. T., with fireworks blazing against the backdrop of the high rise buildings in Manama. 7,000 miles from here. It is another world. I so badly need to get on the floor and play with my grandson and his trains.

Liberia:

The second image is this one, grabbed from a video I watched while researching a story I wrote for the Florida United Methodist Foundation. It features a young preacher – Rev. Jacob Nimeju Kartwe – sharing the good news in the interior of Liberia.

I will link the article when it publishes, but for today I will share this: When I read the story to Rebekah, my eyes filled up with tears. I am not sure exactly what it was, but the narrative – mostly in the voice of an African-American preacher who travelled back to West Africa to mourn her father – captured so much of the grief and the joy and the struggle and the beauty and the peace and the promise held in the passing of a saint that I became emotionally entangled in my own words.

Miami:

Then, of course, a series of shots from Miami, where our other grandchildren – the paparazzi-tolerant and internet-friendly threesome – continue to shine in every way. As do their parents, of course, the ever ebullient Naomi Rebekah and the newly promoted Craig.

Geoffrey, 13-months now, is very excited about everything in his world. Here he is at the water table in the Science Museum.

Wake Forest:

Finally, three photos from here in Wake Forest.

Rebekah and I opening a gift and recording the moment for the people who sent it.

Me getting Covid testing for my parents as part of the “False Positive” fiasco (read False Positive and the Cost of Losing Trust).

Then my booster shot from Thursday evening. Listen, friends, and I am going to say this as nicely as possible: “If you won’t get vaccinated for yourself, then do it for your family, for your church, for your community, for the rest of us. Please.”

– opening gifts

Everyone agrees the Polio vaccines were important; I believe it’s good public policy to require driving on the right, speed limits in towns, seatbelts, and liability insurance; it helps us all when restaurant workers wash their hands; and vaccination – or not – really isn’t an individual choice when we live together and share this planet in community.

Have an amazing weekend, please stay safe, and especially take note of these words from my favorite writer, the Apostle Paul: “In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too.”

In love, and because of love – DEREK

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