We are in town too early. Their weekend gathering doesn’t officially start until 5:30. So looking for something to do, we discover a wildlife refuge and a nearby lake to hike around.
At first there is little wildlife. Then from out of nowhere, the ducks start flying in. And flying in. And flying in.
They play a little in the water, then fly back out.
To where? We drive through a nearby neighborhood across from Standley Lake. There we find about 50 ducks gathered in a small front yard, all quacking together around a bird feeder.
Easy access to good food. That draws us all.
The Refuge, an “eclectic faith community,” is meanwhile drawing them in, too.
They provide a free meal at 5:00 on Sundays. Several round tables are set up; people are gathered around eating and talking. Maybe around 50.
Jeff and I come in at the end of the meal. We meet another newbie also coming in after the food meal. Last week was his first visit. It was delicious enough to draw him back this Sunday night for a second spiritual meal.
He’d heard about The Refuge through a friend. He’s been out of church for awhile, and is looking to resolve a spiritual crisis. He is excited to find this safe place of protection to work through things.
I’d heard about The Refuge through Kathy Escobar’s blog. Her thoughts, her writings, and her passion for God through her blog have been drawing me in for the past couple of years. And admittedly, her nonconformity appeals to me, too. I count that a plus.
So here we are in a town outside of Denver, seated around tables and Bibles with people we don’t know, and listening to Kathy Escobar in person.
Good news: Kathy matches her blog picture (you can never be sure if we bloggers will match our pictures, right? I need to update mine). I easily spot her.
But better yet, she matches her blog persona. She is real. She is godly. She is loving. We watch her hug on people, engage in conversation, demonstrate through words and actions that she knows Love.
The outer space of this gathering is also welcoming. The walls are bright and direct you to spots for eating, for praying, for gathering. The tables are lined with butcher paper for you to write on. We read a couple notes from a previous week and smile. Extra Bibles are on each table, and (this is one of our favorite things!) extra reading glasses (which is a good thing because Jeff forgot his).
As the meeting progresses, we sing, we pray, we gather information about Galatians, then around each table we discuss personal questions and insights from the text.
One of the first genuine questions at our table is: Is all this Bible stuff really true or is it a bunch of bullcrap?
This place is for real.
If we didn’t already know, we know now this church is aptly named. The Refuge. A safe environment where people can come in and out with all kinds of questions and doubts and hunger, and feel protected. Easy access to a good meal.
Kathy concludes with this question for each of us to take home:
What is the good news?
It’s a question the Galatians might have been asking. And it’s just as relevant a question for us.
What is my good news? What is your good news?
That night, my answer could have been it was good news to find out Kathy is authentic. That communities like this exist. That some thoughtful person sets out extra reading glasses. All good news.
But my ultimate answer to “What is your good news?” is this:
It’s good news to keep discovering that Love is real. God is Love. And Love is here.
Here, wherever your “here” is, you can find Love, feast on Love, be Loved.
We close out the evening at The Refuge singing a final song: James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend.”
Yes, that is indeed good news.
* * *
I so enjoyed chatting with Kathy afterwards, telling her I came because of her blog! Next time I go to Denver, we’ve agreed to meet for longer conversation. She’s awesome.
What is your good news? Please share in the comments.
- On the blog – January 2015
- What I’m into – February 2015