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My Walk to Emmaus
ME do Emmaus? NO WAY! (Boy, was I ever wrong!)
My name is John. I attend Community United Methodist Church in Virginia Beach, VA. I walked on TW 80, and sat at the table of Beacons of Faith.
WOW. Never thought I'd ever been making a statement like THAT, especially IN PUBLIC!
I grew up believing in God and Jesus; a good Presbyterian with a mother who still, to this day, lives for the Lord. I church-hopped for a while: Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, back to Presbyterian...and (after almost 40 years) landed in Methodism. Married with 2 great kids, I did what I was supposed to do...made sure the kids went to church on Sundays (when they didn't have sports!), and sometimes even joined my wife there (without complaining sometimes). As the kids got older and more involved in the church, so did I. I served on some committees, and was in an adult sunday school class. Looking back, I know I believed all the right things in my head, but didn't feel them in my heart.
TW 90 Walk Song - Play while you read!
What IS Emmaus? Find out from the source!
Follow this link to learn more, including what Emmaus and Chrysalis organizations are in your area. (Nationally AND Internationally!)
- Upper Room | Emmaus
The Walk to Emmaus is a spiritual renewal program intended to strengthen the local church through the development of Christian disciples and leaders. The program's approach seriously considers the model of Christ's servanthood and encourages Christ's
How I learned about Emmaus
My wife and I were approached about Emmaus by someone I barely knew. She gave us the book to read, and the names of some people I knew a little better who I could talk to if I had more questions. Up until that point, I hadn't even HEARD of Emmaus. Well, maybe a little...
My daughter was VERY involved in church. Children's chorus, sunday school, bible school, youth group...and a host of other outreach and witness activities. One of the things she did was fly on Chrysalis. To me, it was just some other retreat she was going on. When I showed up to her closing, I was impressed with the testimonies of not only the girls, but the GUYS on the flight. It was great to see such results from a "weekend retreat". For the next few months, all I heard from my daughter was "I can't do (insert you-name-it-here" because there's a "HOOT" or a DODU or a Gathering...whatever those things were. Of course, as a Dad, I couldn't let her break all her previous commitments to do "just one more church thing". I guess I didn't get it.
SO, back to me. I learned that Emmaus was the adult counterpart to Chrysalis, so there was a connection to my daughter. She was VERY supportive in convincing me to go. My wife and I committed to go, filled in the applications, did what we needed to do.
How I actually GOT to my Emmaus weekend!
Our Emmaus weekend starts on Thursday evening, and closes on Sunday afternoon. I woke up on Thursday with a headache and stomach. I did not feel well at all. There was NO WAY I was going to be able to go on this "retreat". I lazed around the house, packing so I looked like I was actually going to go. I made sure I have all the things I would need for 3 nights of potential rain and scorching sun. Some people joked about it being a weekend of fasting, so I made sure I had an emergency supply of power bars with me (BOY, did I feel stupid about THAT!) My daughter got home from school, all excited about me going, checking to see if I was ready. I told her that I was almost ready, but that I honestly didn't feel like going. She assured me that I would enjoy myself, if I would give it a chance. The last thing I had to pack was a Bible. I went to a bookshelf where there were several; a green Gideon bible I had taken with me throughout my career in the Navy, a NIV study bible I got a few years ago, a rather large King James Version my mother had gotten me when I was a teenager, and a small red-letter KJV bible that was tattered and torn. This small bible had been a gift from a woman because I had regularly attended her weekly bible school when I was 7 or 8 years old. I have no idea how long it had been since that bible had been opened; I imagine it had been at least 25 years. There was a bookmark in it, with no particular meaning to it, except one thing stood out: when I opened the bible at the bookmark, the first thing I saw on the page was the heading "The Road to Emmaus". Unbelievable. Right there, starting with Luke 24:13, was the story of Jesus' appearance on that dusty road to Emmaus. My heart skipped a beat, and I called to my daughter to show her what I'd found. She smiled, gave me a hug, and said "It's a God Thing"! My headache went away, my stomach was no longer upset, and I was looking forward to heading on the weekend.
Check out some music from the weekend here!
- Favorite Songs from Emmaus and Chrysalis
I'd like to list the music that takes YOU back to your Emmaus and/or Chryslis experience! Give me your inputs below, and I'll get them on our lists of favorites!
OK. So I got there. Now, I'm not a touchy-feely-relationship kind of guy, and I absolutely hated it when we had to pair off and, after about 3 minutes, introduce "my new best friend" to the rest of the group. Uncomfortable for me, to say the least. God, by the way, has a purpose in everything; my "new best friend" and I shared not only our first name, but our profession (teaching), level (high school), and subject (computer programming). Out of the entire group, what were the odds of THAT? The night went on, and we were sent to bed in silence to contemplate. I was thankful for the silence, partly because I wouldn't have to go through all the polite chit-chat with my 3 roommates!
The next morning, we were awaken (still in silence) and I experienced the most amazing communion service of my life. Don't really know what to say about it, 'cause you wouldn't believe me if I told you, but it was powerful; ripped my heart out. After breakfast, we spent most of Friday (and Saturday and Sunday as well) listening to talks by both clergy and other men who had once been "pilgrims" like us and were now helping us on our journey. There was a LOT of singing. I DO NOT SING. We made posters. We sang some more. We played with playdough. We sang some more. We made up skits. We sang some more. We made up songs. To be honest, I spent most of the weekend with my arms crossed in front of my chest trying to keep some semblance of a smile on my face.
Other than the communion, there were three other events that had a significant impact on me. First of all, we were all given the opportunity to confess our sins to God, by writing them down on a piece of paper and nailing them to a cross...the same way Jesus was nailed to the cross for OUR sins. Some people shared their stories with the group, others didn't; it didn't matter, because it was between each person and God. The POINT was to nail the sins to the cross AND GIVE THEM TO GOD. LET GO. That was NOT easy. The second significant event to me was a special candlelight service, where we were surprised by the presence of the community of Emmaus members who had gone before us. The fact that they came that distance, at night, to show how much they love us...that was amazing. To me, the faces of these people GLOWED as I imagine would the face of Jesus if he were to come now. The third event that impacted me was reading some letters that had been written to me by family and friends. This happened Sunday afternoon. After an entire weekend of learning, sharing with brothers, and working on a relationship with God, it was amazing to read these letters of support from all these people who loved me unconditionally. As a matter of fact, I was given even more letters in a bag before I left that day that I read over the next few days.
The closing brought not closure, but a chance to start anew...a "fourth day" to continue and grow based on our three days on our Road to Emmaus. Again, there were MANY members of the community there, including friends and family. We were each given the opportunity to tell what we learned while we were there, and what we were going to do when we got home. A touching moment, when you consider it was a group of 25+ guys actually revealing something personal!
And, by the way...at closing, I think I remember singing, and my arms weren't even crossed in front of me.
After the three day journey on the Road to Emmaus, every day after that is the FOURTH day. It is when you learn to live your life in the way JESUS wants us to live it. And it's a story that, for me, is just beginning.
Follow this link to read about MY Fourth Day, and those of others!
- My Emmaus/Chrysalis Fourth Day
Fourth Day is the time representation the end of the three day pilgrim experience from Emmaus or Chrysalis. It is a commencement, of sorts; the beginning of a new life, after spending three days working on your relationship with the Lord.
Emmaus and Chrysalis Items
- Fourth Day Items for Emmaus and Chrysalis
Want some REALLY cool stuff to help witness the blessings you received on your weekend? Or some gifts to help someone celebrate their Fourth Day? Here are some GREAT places to start!Please note that there are several different stores represented here
- Christian Clothing
Can't remember where I heard that, but these are some GREAT shirts and other apparel to help proclaim the Love of our Lord and Savior!
What better way to witness to those who have not walked, than to tell YOUR story. Feel free to tell as much or as little of your Walk as you feel lead; besides, God is providing you with the words anyway! (If you wish, save your Fourth Day stories for a different time. God will provide!)