One of my all-time favourite scenes in a movie is when William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson) bellows out the phrase; “They may take our lives but they’ll never take our freedom!!” This, whilst on his horse, sword in hand, about to lead the Scotts in a brutal battle against the English to confront and conquer the tyranny that ruled and abused them daily.
I love his resolve, his courage in the face of very real danger and potentially crippling fear. I love his belief that Scotland could be free, should be free and will be free.
In April this year 12 courageous men and women started a 9 week journey of confronting their own tyranny that over years had subdued them into fear, hopelessness, addiction and deception which rendered them defeated. All 12 are committed-followers of Christ, and yet were overwhelmed by their own sin and the sin committed against them. Are they unique? No, not at all, but they were willing to embark on a journey of sharing their story and hearing God’s story that would culminate in them meeting their Redeemer, Jesus, in a way that they had never met Him before, as they really are.
Exodus Groups are gender specific groups that are designed to take people on this journey of redemption. The groups are based on the book titled ‘Redemption’ authored by Mike Wilkerson. The book follows the narrative of the Israelites coming out of over 400 years of slavery in Egypt and their journey to Canaan, God’s Promised Land for them. The Israelites faced many hardships and life-threatening challenges as well as self-inflicted consequences as a result of their own sin and rebellion towards God but ultimately we learn that God is faithful to His people and that He alone can redeem the seemingly irredeemable.
So these 12 men and women shared their lives with a reckless abandon throwing themselves onto God’s unmeasured grace, His undeserved mercy and His overwhelming love. Whilst doing that they got to hear of God’s story of Redemption as reflected through the Israelites story and they learned that the Israelite’s very real journey was not dissimilar to every believer’s journey from ‘slavery’ (addictions, brokenness, abuse, rebellion, idol worship) to the ‘promised land’ (freedom from sin & addiction, restoration, healing, forgiveness, peace, joy and redemption). These 12 courageous people confronted their own pain, their own sin, their own rebellion and allowed Jesus, The Redeemer, to meet them in the midst of all of it to bring them out of it.
The 9 weeks ended in a celebration of sorts as they considered what the Redeemer had done in their lives. Recognizing that their journey is exactly that, a journey, they took comfort in the fact that The Redeemer would complete the work He had started in them. Their hope, not in their redemption, but in their Redeemer, Jesus!
Some of these brave folks have shared a psalm they wrote that reflects a beautiful tension of the "already but not yet" reality we live in. They are redeemed but are learning how to live in the truth of that redemption. As you read it you will notice that there is still much pain, confusion and even doubt and fear but there is a thin thread of God’s irresistible, relentless, unconditional love and grace that it is pursuing them with the promise of redemption.
Here are some of those psalms...