people & places of refuge

kathyescobar dreams, the refuge 11 Comments

thanks all for the love and prayers for jonas. his leg is healing well, jose’s home, the dog’s hives are gone & i am doing what i can to get that horrible image that so many of you peeked at online out of my head.

meanwhile, this is a fun week in the life of our little crazy refuge community–tomorrow night, saturday november 1st, we are moving to a new venue for our weekend gathering.  since our community formed in april of 2006 we have gathered corporately in 3 different locations.   this will be our fourth.   i think in so many ways it’s been good for us because it has forced us to not rely on a building in any way, shape or form.  we haven’t had an office or a telephone line or a permanent address and we’ve learned we can definitely get by without one.  we meet in coffee shops & houses & all kinds of weird places during the week and have rented different spaces to use for our weekend gathering.  somehow people find us, or we find them, and the refuge is much more of a network of relationships than a time and place and building with four walls.  still, we have needed a container to meet and have always known that the last thing we want to spend money on is rent.  the needs in our community are too great and to us rent for use of a building is a big waste of resource.  so we’ve been praying that somehow, some way, God would show us what we were supposed to do next.

we got a beautiful answer: an old grange hall that had become essentially unused with a next-to-nothing rental fee.  it’s perfect for the refuge–off the beaten path, on the wrong side of the railroad tracks, in the old part of town where there are aging houses next to junkyards next to nice office buildings.  it’s definitely the right metaphor.  a real unexpected, unlikely gem.  a lovely, worn farmhouse with charm & space & a sort of unspoken sign on the door that says “i am meant to be used again. fill me up with love & laughter & food & friends.”

for us, it’s just another special place of refuge.  there are several others during the week that meet in houses & coffee shops–safety zones where anyone can come anytime, just how they are, and find friends who are seeking God and change and purpose and life. afterward, we all have to go back to our real lives, our real battles, but hopefully some of what God fills us up with when we are together lingers & gives us strength and hope and a desire to live out the ways of Jesus in really tangible ways.  the word refuge means “a place of shelter, protection or safety”.  that has always been my hope, that our community would be known as people & places of refuge. as people, we can be a refuge for others, friends who offer love & “shelter” & help & hope & light in the circles we live in.   this has absolutely nothing to do with weekly gatherings.  however, i do think that places of refuge may increase the likelihood we’ll become people of refuge.  that’s why i believe firmly in the gathering of “the church”–the body of Christ coming together in some creative shape or form now and then to grow and wrestle and learn the ways of Jesus in practice, not just theory.

so here we go, just another next chapter in our story together.  we feel some relief, some much needed relief, and we hope to have a little more breathing room to cultivate some of our dreams & continue extend the good news into hard places.  thanks for praying and being part of the life of our community from afar.