I responded to our friend, “the smart blonde” on her blog, but I have also been mulling over what I could post her that goes along with our rebirth theme. Like our fellow blogger, many people return from a Via de Cristo/Cursillo/Emmaus weekend excited, joyful and energized. Over time these feelings fade. Does that mean the experience is not valid? Is it just a way to manipulate and deceive us?
Think about the apostle Peter’s experience of the transfiguration in Matthew 17. Jesus takes Peter and a few others to a high mountain where they see him in a completely new way:
“…His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold , there appeared to them Moses and Elijah talking with Him.” Matthew 17:2-3
As amazing as this experience was, Peter and the others were not allowed to stay there forever. They had to go back down to daily life where all the same struggles were waiting. When Jesus was crucified, did they begin to wonder if their time on the mountain really meant anything? They may have. They certainly seemed to forget it pretty quickly. Peter even denies Christ! However, they had seen who Jesus really was, and in the end that causes some significant changes in them.
The big thing we experience on a weekend is loving, Christian fellowship. We focus on Christ, thereby “renewing our minds” and we receive and give unconditional love in an accepting community. It gives us a taste of what the body of Christ should be.
A friend of mine once said the weekend is like a honeymoon, but persevering in the Christian life with the friends we make on that weekend is like marriage. The honeymoon is wonderful and exciting and fun — but brief. Marriage on the other hand, takes effort and commitment. There are peaks and valleys. But how satisfying it is to look back years later to see how we have grown and changed and accomplished so many things together.
So, getting back to my title, a reborn Christian belongs in the world and also in fellowship with other Christians. You don’t have to go on a Via de Cristo weekend to do this. But try to find a small group of Christian friends, meet regularly and be accountable about sharing your faith life and struggles. It may be a prayer group, a Bible study group, a ministry team, a couples group. Pray together, find ways to serve together, study together. If you do these things you will find the message of the Via de Cristo weekend is still alive and working in your life.
How do others who have made this weekend feel? What has helped you keep the mountain top experience alive?