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 clichĂ© 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.


Eric said...

My wife wants to go on a Walk in Ohio and it scares me. Just a few weeks till the weekend and now we learn she isn't allowed to call home, or talk to our child before bedtime. No phone or car, the sponsor didn't even ask how I felt (betrayed).
I found the application, they want to know her profession but not even one question asking how this would benefit/harm our family. Not even a box to check if the 'sponsor' has even said one word to me.

And they are going to want more secret meetings on top of this?

Lisa Biggs Crum said...

Hey Eric - I can understand your concerns. It seemed a bit weird when my husband and I were invited. It also seemed a bit secretive but it really isn't.

The request to not phone home and such is simply to help the person truly be freed of all the stuff that distracts us from connecting with God - not in a weird way, just a natural peaceful way. It's not meant to make the spouse or anyone feel left out - although, I can certainly understand how you feel that way. And, that is why most Emmaus communities recommend that the husband and wife attend Walks as close to each other as possible.

My husband went on the Walk the weekend before I did. He came home with this excitement that he couldn't really tell me about but it wasn't because he wanted to keep it secret - it's just not easy to explain how freeing the experience is. It truly is one of those things you just have to experience to understand it.

It is great to be able to share the awesomeness of the experience with my husband. I highly recommend you talk to your wife's sponsor about you attending the next men's walk. You won't regret it - regardless of where you are in relationship with Christ and Christianity. It's an eye-opening experience that defies physical explanation.

No, she won't have other secret meetings. She may want to get involved with future Walks or attend "reunions" (usually a speaker and refreshments once a month) because of her experience but that is totally optional.

She will feel so loved when she returns from her Walk that you will benefit from the experience as well. You'll see her smile more. You'll see more peace in her life. It will be great.

It's not the same for everyone but I can't imagine anyone going on a Walk and not being changed for the good in some way.

I suggest you be honest with her sponsor. Ask all the questions you want and if you don't like her answers get in touch with one of the Spiritual or Lay Directors for the Walk your wife will be attending. Or contact someone you personally trust who has been on a Walk.

You can usually find the leaders of a specific walk is online if your wife's sponsor doesn't know.

Emmaus has a long and positive history. It is one of many "renewal" type weekends offered by various Christian church affiliations (Catholic and Protestant). You can read the history and such at the link above.

Hope that helps and please contact me to let me know what you and your wife think after her Walk.

Your wife is blessed to have a husband who cares so much.

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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