My FB friends have been posting pictures of spring’s glories for months. I’ve been able to experience some spring in other places as I traveled with my work. But now it is finally coming to my home! Is it worth the wait? Definitely.
I greet each perennial flower as its green emerges from the long frozen ground, “Welcome back, my friend.” Neighbours emerge onto yards and embrace the clean-up with smiles and gusto. I suspect our spring joy is deeper because of our long wait. That’s a glory of living on the northern edge of a growing zone.
Tonight I’ll lead a Bible study on another kind of edge and growing zone. This edge is in a Women’s Correctional Centre. I’ve been doing this since last September and its unlikely glory is producing a growing zone in my own faith. Why?
- As I read the Scripture passages, and the commentaries on them, I read with a different mindset. I look for words that will connect with their harsh realities and…I find good news for all of us.
- As the participants pour in, we laugh about how other churches wish for such participation.
- As we sing our a capella gospel songs, we’ll often be off key, but this communal practice of worship will provide comfort, joy, and a build a sisterly bond.
- As we read through the texts, raw and honest questions will emerge. Sometimes, I’ll get to sense Scripture at work within their lives. Sometimes I’ll be trusted with vignettes and moving testimonies out of their hard lives.
- As I respond to their questions, I fill with gratitude for a life that has equipped me with Bible knowledge that I can share, knowledge which some of them will eagerly grab hold of as handles for this mysterious but life affirming text.
- As we share prayer requests, I am moved by their trust in the power of prayer to provide relief.
- I will be humbled and filled with joy, as I sense our Saviour’s love and good news flowing between us.
There’s a glory to this edge too, especially for those of us who come in as volunteers, and then drive home happily after the evening’s study. But its glory also haunts me, for I know that injustice plays a great role in their incarceration and my freedom. I hope and pray that our shared worship can be like a burst of spring in the dreariness of their lives, knowing that our God can make all things new.