Board of Directors News
He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it un-der a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be dis-closed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”
In close proximity with the publishing of this article, the season of Lent will be upon us. It formally kicks off with Ash Wednesday on the 5th of March this year. In at-tempting to gather my thoughts about Lent, which seemed relevant since it covers most of the month, I came to the realization of how many different meanings or things that in the past I have associated with Lent.
As a very young child, Lent was a time when almost everything in the house and school changed. There was a special service in the middle of a week. Thereafter, for what seemed like forever, the family would have different meals and were doing things differently. I naturally did not grasp all of it. I am not even sure that I made the connection of Lent and Easter as related events, other than Easter marked the end of Lent. After that Sunday, celebrated with candy, colored eggs, and fancy clothes, things returned to more normal behavior in the house-hold.
As I got older (adolescent and young teen) there were levied stern expectations to be very remorseful, to make changes in how one acted or behaved. There was a mandate to give up something as a sacrifice for being a sinner. There seemed to be a lot of negative connota-tions: you had to repent because you were not worthy; you had to sacrifice because Jesus sacrificed; you had to lower yourself to an altered state of activity and dress (more muted colors); etc. So true meanings and person-al comprehension and internal motives were still vague. Self-denial seemed to be the predominate theme but to what end was not clear.
In the approximately 40 years I was not actively engaged in my faith walk, I acknowledge the Lenten timeframe, even occasionally gave up something as a token con-cession to being Christian. But the truth was, I was no more in tune with what Lent could or should be than when I was as a youth.
The added benefit of being the Emmaus CLD is that it makes you stop, think, study and be more aware of one's faith and relevance of Christian events during the year.
I now appreciate that Easter is the headliner for Lent. Easter marks the resurrection of our Lord and that really is the defining moment of the Christian Church. The weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, the period of Lent, is a time to prepare ourselves as Christians for East-er. Jesus himself took 40-days to prepare for what was ahead of Him in God's divine plan, so surely, we can take a lead from that.
As Christians, Lent is a timeframe when we can focus our thoughts on Jesus: through prayer; connection with Jesus' life on earth; perform Bible reading or studies; do repentance based on individual feelings not prescribed behavior; and, perform outreach or acts of service. We can do these things any day of the year; but, as humans it is usually important to have a time or season set aside for motivation to change things or revamp our approach-es - Lent is that time.
During January Ultreya we planted a seed of an idea about Emmaus community members advocating and supporting a Lenten Devotional within their local church. I prayerfully hope that this did occur in some local churches, because it reflects core values of our Emmaus Community: to be active in our local churches; to be dis-ciples; and, to help spread the word to all those who might read the devotional.
At this stage of my life I have renewed and hopefully a more balanced faith-based outlook about Lent. As the scripture at the top of this article indicates, shining a light is more effective than keeping things in the dark. Lent for me, for the longest time, was not a bright spot, it did have dark or self-denial connotations. For too long I concealed feelings, internalize that I was not worthy, and Lent, as previously viewed, only reinforced that.
I am better grounded now. I believe Lent is a very posi-tive time during our faith walk, it lets us prepare for the greatest gift of all -- our redemption! A redemption that stems from our Lord's death and resurrection. We are all worthy of being forgiven, and we are truly beloved children of God. I learned from Jesus when He was human, that it is acceptable not to be perfect and trespasses will occur. However, no matter how many different ways or theological traditions are used to observe Lent, it is important to keep Lent in the context of the Easter Season. If we keep Jesus in our hearts and focus on being true Christians, we can have the self-realization that a life filled with justice, faith, and love will have its reward in heaven for us all.
Lord God, I honor and value your presence in my life. When I do not understand; I will let the light of faith shine. When I have issues; I will pray in Your holy name. I will try to humbly serve You for the rest of my life. Now and forever, on earth and in heaven, You make us worthy to be forgiven our trespasses and to eventually share in your kingdom. All glory and honor is Yours! Amen
Community Lay Director
While onboard a recent Christian Music Cruise we were inspired by Matthew West that God is Strong Enough, His Grace is Enough. He made a CD of songs written from testimonies that were submitted by everyday people. Everyone of us has a story that could be put to song. How cool! Your life is a song. Psalm 100:1-2. "Shout for joy to The Lord all the earth, worship The Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs" This spring will be full of music from Chrysalis and women's and men's weekends. Let us know if you have any special song requests for the March Ultreya. It can even be one that represents your story!! Praises!
Our 2014 Weekends!!
E-168 ~ Mar. 27-30 Carolyn Ritenour
All weekends will be held at the 4-H Training Center near Front Royal, VA
March has finally arrived and our thoughts turn readily to spring and warmth. I love it when the earth smells so good as it comes back to life.…and all those gorgeous colors that burst forth! Happy Spring!
We now move into the season of Lent, that 40 day period of preparing ourselves for the events that are to come in Jerusalem. Near St. Stephen’s Gate/the Lion Gate in the Old City part of Jerusalem, there is a street that goes downhill. As you walk down, there will be a doorway on the right. As you go through the doors and down the hall, you will find yourself walking on the very walkway that Jesus was on when he appeared before Pilate. That is where the long walk to Golgotha began. We are loved so much to be saved by such a grace-filled God, by One who is willing to endure so much so we could gain eternal life. God’s grace — his loving acceptance of us and his forgiveness of our sins — is often difficult to accept or believe. Maybe that’s due, in part, to our reluctance to forgive others or to accept that we are loved that much.
God’s grace, according to Philip Yancy, has a madden-ing quality about it because it is undeserved, unmerited and unfair. But what would our world be like if there was no grace?
When comic actor W.C. Fields was nearing death, folks found a Bible near his bed. Having never been a religious person, they asked him about it. He said, “Looking for loopholes.” It’s sad to think of a life wasted in sin and rebellion, in discomfort and so much brokenness. Yet Jesus comes and we are offered his grace; we have a chance. Forgiveness may be hard to give and hard to receive, but we surely need it!
From the cross Jesus said, “Forgive them, Fa-ther, for they know not what they do.” The Roman sol-diers who had killed him, the Roman government who had sentenced him, the Jewish authorities who did not understand him, the disciples who abandoned him, you, me — we all receive forgiveness and grace!
To accept that divine grace, to be free to begin again, to have the promise of eternal life, we must be willing to receive grace. As Lent unfolds for us and we search our hearts, may we find the love and grace of God swelling up within us — and may that life and grace flow out to all we encounter
Blessings and De Colores,
Luke 18:16 New Living Translation (NLT) 16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.
Here it is March already this has been one tough winter. There have been some highlights one of those highlights in our Chrysalis community has been C-85. We wel-comed 25 new Butterflies into the Chrysalis community back in January. After seeing the youth arrive on Friday evening looking all scared and not sure of themselves and then to see them again at closing was an amazing transformation. They became a family up on the moun-tain! Each one said that they now had a new family that they could lean on and depend on each other in the tough times that we all have. In my eyes there is no greater thing we as a community can do than to grow God’s family. I think of our NCA community as a family, a part of God’s family. I only hope we can grow His family more and more through our weekends.
C-86 is coming up July 10-13 this is our young adult weekend. Those young adults ages 18-25 are able to attend. Please get your teaming applications as well as those applications for the youth to walk! We are also starting to plan for our next high school weekend in Au-gust, so get those applications in soon!
Fly with Christ
J. R. Williams
NCA Chrysalis Lay Director
I am the Community Palanca Cha. I need volunteers to make placemats for me. We need 270 decorated placemats for each team that goes to the Mountain.
I will have blank placemats at the Ultreyas each month. You can create your own design, either free hand, trace from a coloring book, use markers, glitter and glue to create your designs. You can either do them yourselves or get your Sunday School classes to do them. The pilgrims really like them when they come from the children. There are two kinds needed: the ones that are decorated with cute pictures and words, and ones that specifically say “DeColores”. It does not matter what the picture is, it only needs to say “DeColores” somewhere on the placemat. If you wish to make a set for a specific weekend that is great but you need to mark the envelope this is for E-# and I will make sure it goes on that weekend.
You can do placemats for Chrysalis they need the same decorated and instead of saying DeColores they say FLY WITH CHRIST. If you want to do them for Chrysalis you can get them from Terry Downer and return them to her or you can give them to me and I will make sure she gets them.
Or what about your cloth Palanca bags that you received on Friday. How many of you sew? You can go to your fabric store and pick up some material. Rainbow material works well, I guess because most people don’t want to use it as a dress. I will have the dimensions available for you if you’re interested at the Ultreya.
Do you remember your Joy Flag Parade? Joy flags are always needed. These can be made from paper or fabric, and can be as simple or intricate as you desire, as long as they say “Joy” somewhere on the flag. These should always be the pennant shape, too. You may also specify the joy flags for specific weekend also.
First stones are simple. Go outside, pick up a rock, and write “First” on it. Please write “F-I-R-S-T” and not “I-S-T on it. We have felt for the “I’m Lovable” flower pin that you received on Friday. Men get a pennant-shaped ribbon, and felt is available for both. Do you remember being showered with Warm Fuzzies on Sunday? If you love yarn, then this is the project for you. At the Ultreyas there will be the prayer wheel for you to sign up to pray and also, there will be a sheet passed that will have snacks for the weekend. You can sign at the Ultreyas. Food for the weekends needs to get to the Head Cha before Tuesday of the week that the team is going unless you are sponsoring someone and will be going to the mountain on Thursday.
Where do I get all of the material or instructions, you may ask. Well, you can pick up placemats, felt for flowers and banners, and yarn for warm fuzzes at the Ultreya each month. You can also pick up or return items at the Ultreya. There is usually a table near the church’s entrance where items are placed. Or you can find me and hand items to me.
If you’re not available to attend the Ultreya, you can contact me. My email address is LindaLSmith999@verizon.net and phone number is 703- 216-2469. And if you’re concerned about getting an item to me quickly, we can always keep in touch by phone and work out something. If you are willing to serve as Palanca Chairman for your church please fill out the information on the clipboard that I will have at each Ultreya in the front. Please list which items your group is interested in doing, so when I am running low on items I can contact the chairman.
If you are in a reunion group this is a good project that you could do. So, check with your group and see what items you all would love to do. If someone from your church has already signed up then you don’t need to. I am looking forward to working with you!
"If you would like to get placemats please call Linda Smith 703-216-2469 and she will meet you to get them to you"
Thank you and DeColores!
Linda L Smith
Revised Procedures for Ultreya Prayer Concerns
The Board of Directors recently addressed the topic of prayer concern procedures during Ultreyas. The Board was advised that prayer concerns at Ultreya, written out for the presiding Spiritual Director to read, in many cases contained sensitive and private information. As a result, the Board decided to revise the procedures and implemented their decision at the December Ultreya. The revised procedures ask that prayer concerns be written on a piece of paper (provided) and dropped into a box. At the appropriate time during the Ultreya, the box containing the prayer concerns will be brought to the presiding Spiritual Director who will lead the community in prayer.
If individuals feel that more information should be shared regarding a specific prayer concern, please submit that concern to the community through the Holynet after checking with the parties involved to obtain their consent. Prayer concerns for publication on the HolyNet should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Board of Directors has set the Weekend Fees for 2012 as follows:
From the returning second-year class of Directors, one lay member is elected by the Board to serve as the Community Lay Director for a one year term.. This person then selects an Assistant Lay Director from the second-year class.
The second-year Spiritual Director serves as the Community Spiritual Director, with the first-year SD serving as the Assistant to the Spiritual Director