Our January worship gathering focused on the theme of Refuge/Refugia.
Winter is a season when we, and the creatures and plants around us, seek refuge from the harsh elements. It is also a metaphor for challenging and stressful times, like the times we live in with climate disasters, wars, and polarization.
Our winter book study is on the book Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth by Debra Rienstra. Refugia is a biological term that describes little pockets of safety, hidden shelters in harsh conditions or times of disaster and crisis, where life persists and out of which new life emerges. Author Debra Rienstra writes:
“... even amid destruction, the forces of life yearn for renewal. A refugia faith, similarly, regards our dire conditions honestly but immerses fear and despair in longing for God's promised new life.” (p 31)
Refugia are places to find shelter, but only for a time - they are not an escape or a place to stick our heads in the snow and ignore the realities of life. More importantly, refugia are places to begin, places where the tender and harrowing work of restoration and renewal takes root. Winter doesn’t last forever; trees don’t stay in dormancy forever; animals don’t stay in hibernation or in their burrows forever; birds don’t stay in their winter nesting grounds forever.
We can create places of refuge to protect us and renew us through the hardest times, and then launch from there into the next season or stage of regrowth.
Psalm 46 says “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change…”
Where do you see places of refugia in the world around you? Where do you go to seek refuge?
Reflections, poetry, prayers, photos, and resources written by Wendy Janzen unless otherwise noted.