Caught by Surprise: (has it really been six months since Rebekah retired?)

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19
– Benediction

Peace spoken. Love spoken. Blessing spoken.

Sometimes things just sneak up on you and it’s a surprise. There you are, through no intention or plan, in a place you had not thought about being and certainly not navigated to on purpose.

It was yesterday evening, February 1, and I was thinking about Rebekah way over there in the Middle East, enjoying some quality time with Andrew, Alicia, and Mr. T.. I miss her, and even though life here in Wake Forest is busy and there is no shortage of work to do, I felt this wash of loneliness and longing.

I know what I can do, I thought; I can watch a video of Rebekah and that will cheer me up.

So I foraged through the archives and clicked on the first one I saw. Sunday August 1, 2021. That’s when it hit me, and I realized it has been six months now since Rebekah’s epic retirement.

Good grief! I hadn’t even been counting. I still don’t know if my surprise was that it has been that long… or that it couldn’t possibly have been that recent. Either way it is surreal.

The invitation is, always, “come”

So I watched:

It was a mid-summer Sunday, the second of two worship services at WFPC that morning, and also Rebekah’s last.

I listened to the men’s quartet sing “Be thou My Vision.” I listened to the choir offer, “Give Me Jesus.” I watched Katherine connect so beautifully with the children. And my heart filled with joy to see so many people streaming forward to receive communion, the bread and the wine symbolizing the invitation Jesus offers to all people, “Come to the Table; there is nothing holding you back; welcome home!”

Then I listened as Rebekah concluded eight years of joy, grace, promise, and tears in Wake Forest with a message built around the beautiful Ephesians Benediction: Peace spoken; love spoken; blessing spoken.

What I watched, more than anything, was a video of a church that is strong; a healthy, purposeful, beautiful body of believers committed to being the presence of Jesus in the community of Wake Forest.

The Good News really is that good:

I may view this again, one day in the future, I don’t know. But if you haven’t, and especially if you own any cynicism or skepticism toward Christianity or The Church, I urge you to take the time to look at what is – I believe – an authentic and hopeful picture of what Jesus had in mind when he called his followers to carry The Good News into all the world.

And, once again, I shake my head in wonder at God’s grace, and what we have been privileged to be involved with over forty good years of fruitful ministry.

The Good News, friends, really is that good – DEREK

Here is the FaceBook Live version. Then, below, the archived link on YouTube

https://www.facebook.com/wfpres/videos/198564652240336

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