Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Tres Dias’

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. [Philippians 2:5-6, The Message]

cursillo crossFor many years, Mike and I served in a variety of para-church organizations whose mission was to create a once-in-a-lifetime 3-day retreat based on the Cursillo model. While in Georgiain 1984, we attended our first Cursillo weekend (#14) and thereafter served on a number weekends sponsored first by Atlanta Christian Cursillo, emmaus crossthen Walk to Emmaus as well as Tres Dias. When we moved to Maryland, we served in the Delmarva area for Walk to Emmaus and eventually found Maryland Emmaus (the weekends are numbered and although they are in the hundreds now, our weekends were #5 and #6). These retreats were a lifeblood for both the attendees and the “servants.” It was on these weekends that we learned about servant leadership and sacrificial service. Later Mike moved his energy to yet another outgrowth of these weekends into the Maryland prisons, and kairos crossserved on several Kairos weekends. There also evolved weekends, called Chrysalis for teens. Together, Mike and I contributed and served on over one hundred weekends. And we did this out of love. chrysalis cross

It was here that we experienced the joy of serving, where each and every person on a team gave 110% of their time and commitment to the weekend and its preparations (anywhere from a 12-25 week commitment, depending on a person’s role). There was structure and yet there was creativity, laughter, tears, music, clowning, teaching, sharing, and great food (or at least, lots of food).

Being a project-oriented person, the process appealed to me from beginning to end. Being a results-oriented person, I saw changes to both team and participants. And several of the relationships formed on those retreats lasted far beyond the weeks of direct service. One of most popular jobs or roles on the weekend was the “cha.” This person demanded the most of the person physically, running errands up and down the hill, setting up chairs and tearing them down, moving sound equipment, delivering gifts, dressing up in silly costumes, waking up very early and going be the churchto bed very late. The focus of every retreat weekend was the participants who were first-timers. At the heyday of the movement, people would be on waiting lists for years, to attend. The weekend experience was life-changing.

These retreats were the best of Church.

the-80-20-ruleBut they were never intended to replace the local church. And often, the men and women (who attended separate weekends) would return to their home church, ready to serve. Unfortunately, in churches everywhere, everyone who attends church is not on the same page. And so, the people who are willing to serve freely often serve into burn-out. It’s so much harder to serve in a community when only a small percentage (often the proverbial 20%) of the people are actively pulling/contributing the bigger share (time, money, energy, etc).

decoloresI cannot imagine what serving on an Emmaus weekend would have been like if every team member didn’t know what his/her role was, didn’t give that role his/her 100%, and didn’t understand how that role impacted the experience of the pilgrim participants. What teams did understand was that each person has a gift to give and each gift is like a different vibrant color, the same kind of rainbow of color that typifies the love of God shining through the prism of Christ. DeColores.

The message of each servant/team member was really the same: “I am here serving you because someone served me.”

Read Full Post »

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. 🙂

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: