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Posts Tagged ‘Emmaus’

I should write a book: “My Favorite Bible Metaphors.” There are a zillion ways that Jesus used to communicate with the people about faith and the Kingdom of God from seeds to light to fish to sheep to salt to cooking. These word pictures were then passed down through stories. They still work today.

Galatians 5:7, 9
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? . . . “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

One of my good friends bakes bread several times a week to provide this staple for her family. Her father baked it for their family when she was growing up and it’s a tradition she has continued. Whenever I think of yeast-rising bread, I think of her.

I did my own stint at bread making some years ago. At first, the hand method (which is preferable) and eventually to a bread machine. The smell would envelop our house. I actually gave up the practice because my husband and I were devouring a loaf a day and our waists followed suit. But it might be time, with teens in the house, to return to this simple practice of adding yeast, working dough, watching it rise, and then shaping into a tasty loaf. There’s something a little “zen” about it.

Bread of all kinds is staple for all cultures. Everyone understands the yeast/dough image. It only takes a small amount of yeast to transform bread from flour, salt and water. Yeast affects all the dough. It too transforms itself to have the effect.

As a metaphor, it is a simple message. In Galatians, Paul refers to the “yeast” of a misleading but charismatic preacher who was drawing the original Christ believers back toward Jewish law, particularly circumcision.

It only takes one person to change a group. It only takes one to deadlock a jury. It only takes one to break consensus. It only takes one to undermine a team. It only takes one to start a war. But it also works the other way, it can be the one who motivates a group to higher challenges, or one to bring a family back together, or one to inspire a nation, or one to raise the flag of peace, or one to be the watchman crying out a warning.

Many years ago, I was on a women’s retreat and we were all assigned to a certain discussion group that would meet and discuss the teaching sessions. (For those in the know, this format is used in a variety of parachurch organizations like Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus, Tres Dias, and so forth.) The first day I was sure I was assigned to the wrong group. Each woman came with so much baggage, even the assigned facilitators were a mess. The first couple of discussion sessions were painfully dull or fraught with misunderstandings and confusion. I cried. Can’t anyone see I’m miserable? Can’t I change to that happy group over there? Can’t I be with the fun group on the far side of the room, or the clever group behind us? Finally, God “smacked me up side the head!” And I literally heard a voice from within say, “It’s you! You! You are not being the yeast or the salt.” I had come to that retreat experience with some expectations, not realizing that I wasn’t entering the story. I was sitting back and waiting for story to come to me. When I finally engaged fully and lovingly, everything changed. By the end of that weekend, our group became the most impacted, the most cohesive, warm, and authentic. There was much healing.

Lord, give me courage to be yeast in the right circumstances. And when it’s yeast coming against me, help me jump out of the bowl. 🙂

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Hope and patience are partners. They are the ones who sit with us when we are waiting for the change to come. Hope implies change.

Romans 8:24-25
For in [this] hope we were saved. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For how can one hope for what he already sees? But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure.
[Amplified]

Chapter 8 of Romans is really quite mystical as Paul deliberates on all of creation waiting for the ultimate redemption when humans become like Jesus, when humans become complete and our own triune natures become truly One. How else would it be possible for the lion to eat with the lamb and “. . . they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” [Isaiah 11:9]

How else can we wait but in patience? We cannot make this happen. We can only do our small part in this age of transformation: give ourselves fully to the hope and walk today in faith.

In the Cursillo communities, they say our Christian walk is supported by a three-legged stool: piety (prayer), study (word), and action (works). I believe this too. But before, these three can take root, one must be sure that three other legs are in place: faith, hope, and love.

Piety, study, and action are disciplines and should be natural outgrowths of our faith and love. Our strength to persevere comes from our hope. It’s active waiting.

I choose to walk and wait in hope this day. Keep me mindful. Keep me in the moment.

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Luke 24:45
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

Today, I reached the final verses of Luke, in my tortoise-like study of the scriptures. I have intentionally read only 8-16 verses per day, reviewing their intent and seeking an application for me that day. From these daily readings, I have asked the Lord to build these meditations.

But I realized today that we can read and read, we can listen to sermons and teachings, we can write and write about we read and hear or see, but none of it will touch the heart or light a way without the Lord’s opening of our minds for understanding.

In the same way that Jesus opened the eyes of the two disciples He encountered on the road to Emmaus, He opens the mind. It is a healing!

Acknowledging that the mind or the heart or the eyes need to be opened is part of the process. In John 5:6, Jesus asked the invalid who had been lying on a mat for a long time, “Do you want to be well?” I believe Jesus is asking me (and all of us), “Do you want to understand?” Do I really want my mind opened? I do.

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Pastor Craig taught that the Greek word used in II Peter 1:7 for brotherly affection or brotherly kindness is “philadelphia,” which describes a type of “love” that exists between good friends and family. He then went on to say how important this familial relationship is in a church to support our walk in Christ and how critical an element it is to add to the many qualities we have studied so far in II Peter 1.

So why am I so sad? This should be an easy one. But no, I must confess, I don’t always feel it. There have been times in my Christian walk where I have felt very connected to the body of believers with whom I worship. Back in my early days when Mike and I attended our church in Atlanta… those people held place in my heart for years and years despite time and distance when we moved to Maryland. And there have been seasons where individuals within this church have been significant, perhaps moreso when we were dynamically involved in a cell or small group. And then, there was Emmaus and Tres Dias and Cursillo. I would have to say I experienced “philadelphia” in that setting the most and when those relationships carried into the church, there was love.

But what about today? Where has the love gone? It is true that we are no longer active in Emmaus. Is that the only way to nurture brotherly affection? What was it about Emmaus that brought out these feelings and commitment to one another? What other ways are there to nurture philadelphia in a church? It’s more than just a decision… there must be focus.

Help me Lord to discover the root of my discontent. I have a suspicion I’ll pursue tomorrow.

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