Monday, March 03, 2008

The Restorer's Journey

Supper at the pastor's house on Friday night was wonderful! There was some initial awkwardness, but once we had yummy homemade pizza in our stomachs, the conversation flowed easily. We didn't even notice the time until 10:30, when I rousted Jesse up to go. I think we could have spent another two hours talking. I know the Holy Spirit was with us. I prayed earlier in the day about it, and Jesse had me pray for both of us on the way there. And the pastor covered us all in prayer at the meal. The night really solidified our decision to stay at that church. I called our old church and had them move our membership from member to friend.

We went to church yesterday and attended the morning Bible study for the first time. I was truly convicted in my heart of several sins, and it felt good to be part of a community of believers. The focus of the service was love, so in the regular morning service, we sang a hymn I'd never heard before called The Love of God by Frederick Lehman. The third verse stunned me so much in its beauty, I couldn't even sing along.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Isn't that a beautiful idea? Fill the oceans with ink, every blade of grass becomes a pen, every person a writer, the sky our paper, and we still couldn't describe the love of God.

After church, we dropped Mia off at Mom's and picked up Molly's boyfriend Sergey. We all went to the Green Bay Gamblers hockey game. Doogie and Molly had never been to one before, so I sat between them to enjoy the day with them. The pictures are of us in the stands. Then we all went out to eat at a buffet. I never really notice the byplay in my family until I view it through an outsider's eyes. As we ate, the zingers flew around the table and we all regularly burst into laughter. I watched Sergey try to keep up with us, and I don't think he quite knew what to make of our family unit. But he was flawlessly polite, and I think given time he would join in our jests too.

The Restorer's Journey by Sharon Hinck is the third book in the Sword of Lyric series. It picks up shortly after the second book with the return home of Jake, and his parents Mark and Susan. Cameron and Medea are still free in the world, and when they decide to return to the world of Lyric, they kidnap Susan as their hostage. Jake and Mark prepare to follow, but Mark has made too many trips through the portal and is held back, leaving Jake on his own to not only save his mother but the world of Lyric itself from Cameron's machinations. I hadn't read the first two books in the series, but Hinck includes enough back story to make it easy to slip into the story without bogging the story down with exposition. Jake is the new Restorer, a mystical title that gives him the ability to heal his own wounds, hear and see things far away, and fight with ability not his own. 18 year-old Jake is unsure of himself and initially wants only to find his mom and return home, but the longer he spends with the people of Lyric, the more he falls in love with the world and respect his own abilities. Susan's story, while a definite subplot, was to me the more fascinating story. She is imprisoned in the country of Rhus among people who manipulate others' minds for pleasure. She becomes the plaything of Nicco, Medea's friend, who spends hours forcing Susan to relive her worst memories and warping her best memories into nightmares. When she asks God to free her or help her, he instead tells her to pray for him and his people. Susan's prayers change her heart, and ultimately that of the Rhusican people as well. God is ever present throughout the book (although in Lyric he's referred to as The One), and Hinck does a good job of creating a viable fantasy world where God is relevant and true to Scripture. This is a great read, and the ending leaves things a bit up in the air. Maybe there will be more...

I'm spending the day in bed recuperating from yesterday's activities. I hate that I always have to plan a day of rest after a day of fun, but at least I'm learning how to deal with my illness.