In my last post, I talked about how a reborn Christian should think, and the kind of things we need to “set our mind on.” It made me remember my Via de Cristo weekend and how it was a time of “renewing my mind.”(Romans 12:2).
A weekend is 72 hours away from the world. Participants (they are called pilgrims) are asked to turn off their cell phones, take off their watches and leave their electronics at home. They don’t need to worry about the time. They don’t have to cook or clean up. There are no chores. They have three days to “set their minds” on God’s grace.
There are a number of talks on the weekend, some by pastors, others by lay people, but the thread holding them all together is grace. We talk about how God’s grace is habitual, i.e., everyone in the world benefits from it (you know, rain falls on the just and unjust alike). However, we each experience times when God acts “gracefully” and specifically in our own lives. In fact, every one of us lives a grace-filled life and if we only take the time to let this realization sink in, we will naturally want to share His grace with the world.
In addition to hearing about grace, we experience it directly in the love of team members who give up their time to serve coffee, cook food, clean up, and take care of the hundreds of details that make up the retreat. We meet new Christian friends who have time to share and listen and hug and laugh and sing and cry with us.
What an opportunity! At home we have a million things to distract us: bills, chores, children, spouses and yes, even those worthwhile church and volunteer activities. How often do most of us get to truly be Mary, setting at the feet of Jesus and just listening, being completely focused?
I didn’t get any new knowledge or secret insights on my weekend. The theology is just straightforward Lutheran teaching. What I did get was a taste of “ fixing …(my) eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”(Hebrews 12:2) and some tools and suggestions to help me keep doing that.
Via de Cristo is a national organization that sponsors weekends all over the country. You can learn more at www.viadecristo.org or email one of us at our church website www.leitersburglutheran.org.