In my last post, I wrote about what an ultreya is— in this post I’ll address what we actually do at an ultreya. Often the ultreya starts with some snacks (what would a Lutheran gathering be without food???). Then there is some singing. You may get a chance to hear (or request) your favorite weekend song. There are announcements about upcoming weekends and other matters of concern to the community. Then we have a speaker.
The speaker is someone who attended a weekend and is asked to share his or her struggles and successes in walking with Christ. The talk lasts about 15 minutes, and may deal with some aspect of piety, study or action (these are issues we discuss in our renewal groups). Hearing about what and how another Christian is doing helps me to make progress in my own faith walk and reminds me that I am not alone.
After the talks, the participants break into smaller groups and share a discussion question related to the talk. If a pastor is present, the meeting may end with communion and a brief worship service. Often we close with a circle prayer. Everyone is welcome to share their prayer concerns out loud, or silently in their hearts.
The ultreya gives me a sense of joy as I experience God’s presence and the love of a Christian community. It helps me to put my problems into perspective, and I feel peaceful, resting in God’s hand.
For more about Christian community see these posts:
John Stott on the Christian Community
Dietrich Bonhoeffer — What it Means to be in Christ as a Community