There’s a story that I’ve seen a few times coming via the email traffic that I feel can be enhanced to fit our current community. The story goes something like this: There was a faithful man who had just stopped coming to Sunday services. The pastor asked different people that he knew the man was close to if he had gone on vacation or if they knew of anything that might prevent him from attending church. None of his peers knew anything. So after a few more weeks the pastor decided to “drop” in on him to see if he was okay.
The man greeted the pastor at the door and the pastor asked if everything was okay. The man slowly started to voice his displeasure with different aspects of the church service and some issues with some of the people in leadership positions. He said “I just decided I needed some time to pray about it and seek God’s will.” The whole time the gentleman was voicing his views, the pastor just listened, sitting next to the fire place. When the man seemed to be finished the pastor didn’t say a word. They looked at each other, the man expected the pastor to take a defensive view point, but he remained silent for a minute. The pastor then reached over to the fireplace “tools” and can grabbed the tongs. With them he grabbed a burning ember and pulled it aside. Within a minute or so, its flame had extinguished and became smoldering coal. The pastor looked back at the man and their eyes locked. The man blinked and said “I get the message, I’ll be back this coming Sunday.”
It’s not word for word of the original story, but I hope I captured the essence of the message; “We need each other to keep our fire burning, even in spite of each other’s imperfections.”
Now if we took the analogy a little farther, suppose we moved all the flaming pieces apart from each other? Our fire would slowly die out, and if the pieces were not moved back together the smoldering embers would soon turn cold not giving off any heat or light.
If you ask any pastor about the effect that people who have participated in the Emmaus weekend have had in their church, for the most part they will tell you it has enhanced the life of the church. That is the intent of the Emmaus weekend, to help us find our place in spreading the gospel message in our homes, community and the world, where ever we feel we are called. An Emmaus weekend helps us to “listen” for that calling.
If we don’t keep feeding the fire, it will slowly dwindle, giving off little or no heat or light to south-west Michigan’s churches. I know we have our own churches to work in, but if you had a training weekend for people in your church to attend, wouldn’t you like it to be local and affordable to send those people who fit the criteria?
The Woman’s spring walk is upon us in March (13-16), being held at Marshall United Methodist Church, right off I-94 (exit 110, south). Sharon Iron’s is our Auxiliary Director; call her (616)450-0069. I pray that she has to turn people away, no place to put them to sleep!
If you have a man in mind, consider sending them to the Jackson Area Emmaus weekend event being held in February.
The pilgrim application form is on our website (www.kalamazooemmaus.org/DATES-Spring.htm) Talk to those you know fit the profile, because Emmaus is not for everyone. But if the person is looking to search deeper, or just needs a time from the distractions to refocus their journey with God, get them signed up. Don’t let the fire burn out.