Friday, April 10, 2009
A number of years ago I attend an Emmaus Weekend. An Emmaus Walk is challenging to explain because the preference is that future participants not know everything that will take place throughout the Friday night-Sunday afternoon over which the experience takes place.
The weekend is planned to allow the "traveller" to experience Christ at a deep, personal level. It is a time of complete seclusion but for other Emmaus participants and the team of volunteers who serve as guides/servants/small group leaders. Every learning style is addressed and catered to. Music, food, study, small group sessions, large group sessions, personal testimonies, and so much more are intermingled with time to be alone, pray, reflect, walk or socialize and relax with others.
One of the two women "assigned" to my group of 5 women displayed seemingly boundless energy. She also was a deeply committed to making the experience as meaningful as possible for each of us. Each team member has been on the Walk themselves and then receive extensive training to become a team member for others. She was a true servant in that she continually brought us soft drinks, water, tea, coffee, snacks during sessions.
She prayed with and for each us indvidually and as a group. I know the team got almost no sleep throughout the course of the weekend, buy this woman never wavered in her willingness to jump up and be sure we were catered to like royalty.
I cried many tears that weekend. In fact I'm wellng up as I type this just recalling the experience. My tears then were for my sinfulness; for my abject grief and shame. My tears were due to my absolute inability to grasp why and how God could love me enough to send Christ.
I lost any perception of composure when this young woman prayed over me after one of our small group discussions came to a close. This was her prayer: "Lord we know that you died for us. But Lord, today I need Mary to know that you would have died just for her. If she had been the only one in need of your gift, you would have died just for her."
I had never and have never been one who said I was "born again." I am blessed that even during the years I did not go to church as a young adult, that I knew Christ and His love for me. This day, though, the magnitude of the gift washed over me. The vestiges of unworthiness and self-loathing began to erode. My tears and the tears I have cried since began to wash away the past - the life I lived before I knew and fully accepted that Jesus would have died JUST FOR ME.
He would have died JUST FOR YOU, too. That's called grace. We don't deserve it - you and me - your OR me. But He did it anyway--and he would have just for you; just for me.
Because of the Cross I long for eternity in heaven. Because of the Cross I live for Christ. Because of Christ I am free and whole and worthy. Because of Easter I am like those women at the empty tomb 2000 years ago - awed, amazed, full of hope and joy!
"Because of the Cross" is the answer to every question in my life.
Because of the Cross.
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