I am with my family finishing up the "vacation" part of my sabbatical. We are at Amelia Island enjoying the incredible beauty of the Lord's creation - the beach, the Atlantic Ocean, the storms, the trails, the trees, the marshes, the flowers... on and on I could go. This part of North Florida is absolutely beautiful!
For church on Sunday I attended the Amelia Island Chapel, an interdenomination Christian community, which is a two-minute walk from where we are staying. I was again surprised and blessed to discover another stalwart of the Faith, Ted Shroder, is the pastor. He is a retired Episcopal priest who has fought the good fight for the Faith, led many to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, and inspired many others through his writings. His sermon was entitled "The Suffering of Creation" as he is preaching his way through The Epistle to the Romans. His presentation was a refreshing examination (and not a denial) of the suffering which is built into creation by God. One day there will not be any suffering, but until then, creation is doing its part in order to live, mature, and reproduce life - and suffering is a part of this. His encouragement was that believers should not deny suffering, but rather embrace it in the power of the Holy Spirit. Only then can the believer overcome and mature in the will of God. A lot to reflect on.... especially since I have been enjoying the beauty of creation.
I was impressed by the ministry and vision of Amelia Island Chapel. It is more of a church than many churches!! Check out their website at http://www.ameliaislandchapel.com/.