The Glories of Living on the Edge

finally spring


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.



About Elsie Hannah Ruth Rempel

As a young senior whose life could easily have ended in a nasty car crash in 2012 I live with an extra dose of gratitude to God, humanity, and the wonders of our human bodies. I am a passionate advocate for ministry WITH children and seniors in the life and ministry of the church. I started working in Faith Formation with Mennonite Church Canada in 2002. Thinking and writing about faith helps me see God at work in all kinds of surprising places. I'd like to be remembered as one who encourages others to live into God's good dream for our world. My book, Please Pass the Faith: The Spiritual Art of Grandparenting, is one big way I'm trying to share that encouragement with my peers. This blog is another way I'd like to engage people who care about growing in faith across the generations.
This entry was posted in Bible studies, community, faith practices, Hope, Prayer, prison, spring, Women's concerns and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Glories of Living on the Edge

  1. Inspiring Elsie. Thank you!

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