Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Last weekend we went away. We drove a couple hours east of us to Tri-Cities, WA to shop, play in a hotel pool with the kids, and mostly to see dear friends who we love.
We did shop, and we can happily say that we are 100% complete in our Christmas shopping. Very nice.
We did play in the pool, and everyone had a ball. It is amazing to me that as tired as kids get from playing in water, and as soundly as they sleep, that more of us don't have pools at home. It must be worth the cost, effort and space. Hmm...
And we did see our dear friends who love us Sunday morning at The Bridge. A few years ago we spent a year (in the midst of our nomadic period) in Hermiston, OR, and drove the 1/2 hour north to attend church at the Tri-Cities Vineyard. They have since parted ways with the Vineyard (a good parting) and are associated with Streams Ministries. None of that matters to us, because we love them and they love us. And that is really all that matters.
We love going to visit them, and wish we were closer, but we are not. So we go when we can, and enjoy the feeling of home while we are there.
When I think of Pastor Tom and his church family, what is most striking and noticeable to me in the midst of worship, prayer, fellowship, prophetic stuff, etc...is the intentional focus on, desire for, and pursuit of freedom. I won't go into their details, which would be so much better coming from Tom's mouth or blog, but I will say this - walking into a place where freedom is given such value, and where safety exists to trust that you can be free and not thrown out the front door is SO refreshing. That kind of freedom, compared to stoic, safe, follow the rules of this church kind of living is like eating fresh baked bread just out of the oven, rather than last week's crusts that are ready to be fed to the pigs.
As I drove the van to the Tri-Cities, I thought about this post, and about freedom. I thought that in the world and in our selfish nature, we think that freedom is doing things our way. Living life for me, on my terms, for my gratification and enjoyment. But in the real world, in the Kingdom of our Liberator and Master, it is just the opposite. Those are the steps that lead to bondage, and slavery, and away from freedom.
Bottom line is this - if you are not free, you are in bondage! I think of the Far Side cartoon of the slave galley. There is this one emaciated slave shackled to the bench rowing away, and whistling a happy tune. The brig master is saying to his mate something like 'we just aren't getting through to this guy'. The point is that bondage can be very obvious, or it can be much more subtle. But even when it is subtle, and hard to spot, walking into a place where freedom reigns just feels so, well, free.