On Wednesday morning each week, when a group of men from Peachtree Road begin their weekly Bible hour wading into scripture with Geoff Beakley, a vivid memory always comes to mind. Many years ago, as a young person in the church, summer often brought adventure on the Chattahoochee. Our youth director at the time, a proficient whitewater canoeist, would take a group north to Helen, Georgia, the church van loaded with expectation and a trailer hitched behind full of heavy steel Grumman canoes. There in the shallows at Helen, the group would wade into the river, loading gear and lunches into the boats, readying for a day on the water.
Many of us were looking forward especially to the whitewater ahead, the places along the way where, depending on the last rainfall, the speed of the river can either excite or overwhelm. At those places, before deciding the best way through, both the experienced and the inexperienced—all of us, including our expert leader—would pull out of the water, stand along the shore, maybe walk ahead a bit to see around a bend. We would “read’ the river. We looked carefully at the river flow, the rocks and rushing turns, even sometimes the mysterious quiet patches mixed in with the rough places.
Reading the river is not easy. Nor is sometimes reading scripture. But in both cases, faith plays an important role. Swept along by the water, or by the scripture, even when we are unsure of our “reading,” we know our faith in God will give us strength to discover the way. It was no surprise our youth group always looked forward to our next time on the river. Likewise, our Wednesday group at Peachtree Road returns to the scripture again and again (joy always present among us, even at dawn!) learning, journeying together, growing in our faith, getting ever closer to God. Thank you, Geoff! – Glenn Kellum