through the thicket to wide-armed freedom

I'm so encouraged.  On thursdays there is a growing group of crazy people who meet at 6:45 in the morning to digest the Bible together.  This time has become one of the richest gatherings in my life.  We care for each other, and we care to be transformed a bit more each week by God.  It's one of those deep gatherings, where every word is cherished and treasured… where the surface serves not as a barrier but an invitation to know what's underneath… where the eternal meets the temporal.  It's a beautiful time.

We call the time "Tim Hortons & God"- simply because I pick up donuts from Tim Hortons on the way in and then we sit with God in his Word.  We take our time… We are now in our tenth week of the book of Jude… and have gotten through verse 21.  Just over two verses a week! 

I admit I had no idea how amazing this book of Jude was until we started studying it.  I've always dismissed it as judgmental and harsh… never noticing the underlying intensity of Jude's love for those he is writing.  He begins the book in love and joy… but needs to address a serious concern… and then gets back to his love and joy at the end.  It's a poetic, image-filled letter… power packed in every phrase.  The middle section of the book does feel like a briar patch, though… a thicket that you must ply through– every scratch a determined drive to make it through to the open path.  And today… today we reached the open path.  After making our way through the painful thorny growth, verses 20 and 21 have breathed fresh air and freedom into our souls.  Each phrase and every word carefully and wonderfully sung.  I feel as if my arms, which were held close to my chest as we made our way through, have now been able to spread wide open! 

Just thought I'd share this with you today.  God's Word sings.  Sometimes the song is somber, sometimes overwhelming.  Today the song was refreshing and life-giving!  Today was a symphony of encouragement.

You, dear friends,
    build yourselves up in your most holy faith
    and pray in the Holy Spirit
    Keep yourselves in God's love
    as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

-Jude 20-21

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