The Via de Cristo community has monthly gatherings which are called ultreyas. Ultreya is an archaic Spanish word once used by pilgrims in Spain as they ascended the steep steps up to the Shrine of St. James. It means to “persevere upward” and was called out to encourage others to keep going. At an ultreya there is singing, food (we are Lutherans, after all) and time to share our experiences in walking with the Lord.
In a sense, we’re all pilgrims in this Christian journey. The way can get difficult. There are plenty of distractions, disappointments, detours and even spots that seem like dead ends. It’s good to know we’re not alone. It’s good to have someone lend a helping hand, listen, or just call out “you can make it.” It’s good to have someone who will carry your burdens for a while, someone who will pause to give you directions, someone who will pray with you and for you.
That’s why Christ gave us the church. Most of us couldn’t persevere alone. Companions on the journey lift our spirits; they keep us on the right path; they help us accomplish our goals. Don’t be a lone ranger Christian — find a community and persevere upward.
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10