Monday, October 30, 2006

Another Walk to Emmaus

My sister-in-law attended the Ashland (KY) Area Women’s Emmaus Walk #24 this past weekend. The sense of anticipation on Thursday was just as I remember it for my walk. The “Pilgrims” were eager but apprehensive because they don’t know what will happen over the next 72 hours. The sponsors and servants have silly grins because they know exactly what the pilgrims are about to experience.

Some think the Emmaus Community is a secretive group. It’s not at all. The reason it seems hush, hush is because words cannot fully describe the experience.

The women attempted to express the same sentiments over and over at the closing service Sunday evening. “I saw the face of Jesus,” several said. How can you explain that to someone who hasn’t seen him face to face? It’s impossible. It seems to be just a cliché but it’s not. At some point on the walk, each Pilgrim looks around and realizes she has been with Jesus all weekend. A transformation takes place at that instant. She knows her life will never be the same again.

God has been speaking to me about the need to be in real community. This weekend and my Bible reading this morning are strong nudges from God.

In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit enables the disciples to speak in other languages. There were “God-fearing Jews from every nation” in Jerusalem that day. A sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven. Then “a crowd came together in bewilderment because each one heard them speaking in his own language.” Verse 11 says they heard them declaring the wonders of God in their own language. This crowd asked “What does this mean?” But others made fun of the disciples and accused them of being drunk.

Experiencing the manifest presence of God brings people together. Those who “hear” the wonders of God are united in their search for more understanding. Those who refuse to “hear” and prefer to accuse and point out differences continue in life unchanged.

The Emmaus Community is a gathering of people united by their experience of God’s manifest presence. The indescribable wonders create a hunger to know God more deeply and a realization that without Christ I am absolutely nothing.

Do you have to go on a Walk to Emmaus to see the face of Jesus? No. But you do have to be in community with other believers to experience the fullness of the Body of Christ. Once you’ve seen his face, you’ll either be drawn in or you will reject the experience as too bizarre to be true. If you are drawn in, you will want to be with others having the same experience. That’s all the Emmaus Community is.

The Walk to Emmaus is an ecumenical Christian Renewal program open to anyone interested in a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Links to several Christian Renewal programs are listed below. Don’t be satisfied with learning about God. Find a community of people who experience God’s presence.

o Catholic Cursillo
o Christ Renews His Parish
o Cum Christo
o Episcopal Cursillo (or Happening Youth Weekend)
o High School Catholic Kairos
o Koinonia
o Lutheran Via De Cristo
o The Great Banquet
o Tres Dias
o Walk to Emmaus ( or Chrysalis Youth Weekend)

Read about my Walk in post titled I Have Seen Jesus.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Talking it Out

They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

Luke 24:14-16

Last week I blogged about the people at the crucifixion. Those who knew him kept watching even after he stopped breathing.

Beginning at Luke 24:13 we read about two of these people who knew Jesus. They most likely were at the crucifixion – watching. Now they are on the road to Emmaus a couple days later. Their conversation indicates that the events of Jesus’ crucifixion were still puzzling them. They were no longer watching the cross with expectation. They were now attempting to make sense of everything among themselves.

Then Jesus joins them and they don’t recognize him.

Does that stab you like it stabs me? How often do we discuss the things of Jesus without recognizing his presence and power right there with us?

Awesome Lord, forgive us for treating you as a joiner to our groups. May we seek your face. May we wait with anticipation as long as takes. May we recognize you in our midst and listen to your voice.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Keep Watching

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man." When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. - Luke 23:47-49

When Jesus died, the people watching responded in different ways.

The centurion was impressed with Jesus’ response to death. Because of what he saw, the centurion believed Jesus was an innocent man.

Many people turned and walked away disappointed. Perhaps they had something different in mind for him to do. For them, it was finished.

Those who knew him kept watching even after he died.

How are you responding to Christ? Is he just an innocent man who was wrongly put to death? Are you disappointed in circumstances that didn’t turn out the way you expected? Is your hope in your ideas or in Christ?

Keep watching.

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55:9

Thursday, October 05, 2006

When Darkness Reigns

Read: Luke 22:39-53

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."

Luke 22:39-40

This narrative follows the account of the last Passover meal Jesus had with his disciples. During that time together, Jesus revealed that one would betray him. They tried to determine which one that would be then went into a discussion of who was the greatest. I can just imagine these grown men. “Well, I’m not going to betray him. I’m his best friend.” Another pipes in, “You may spend more time with him now but I’m the one that’s going to be his right hand man in running the kingdom.”

Jesus tries to get his message across to his disciples. He even warns one of those closest to him that he will turn away from him. He also encourages him to strengthen the others after he gets through the rough times.

Then he goes to his place of solitude. The disciples follow. Jesus’ heart is heavy. He knows what this night holds. He petitions his friends to pray not for him but for themselves. The Son of God steps away to cry out to his Father. He returns exhausted and saddened to find the disciples asleep. Once again, he tries to get the significance of his message across to his friends.

While he is still speaking…Judas, one of the twelve approached Jesus to kiss him. Now the adrenaline is flowing. The disciples jump into action. Swords come out. But Jesus stops the commotion.

“Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour--when darkness reigns.’”

Luke 22:52-53

It’s been a couple thousand years since the events of this passage took place. All the things happened just as Jesus said they would. Judas betrayed him. Peter denied knowing him. It was a dark time for all the disciples. Eleven of the twelve found strength in reuniting. Judas, alone, committed suicide.

Have you become so accustomed to the darkness around you that you are falling asleep? Pray for strength to resist temptation before it comes?

Maybe you are struggling with a dark circumstance in your life. Petition your friends to pray with you, not for you but for themselves in this circumstance. Their strength to support God’s will for you is vital.

Dear Jesus, you are our Lord and Savior yet you call us friends. May we wake up and heed your message. May we always be prepared to resist the impulse of our flesh. Thank you for pouring out your Spirit so that we have the strength to follow you when darkness reigns.

the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
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