“To be on a Pilgrimage is to go through Christ to the Father under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, bringing others along with you.”
The quote above is on the first page of Pilgrim’s Guide which you will receive if you attend a Lutheran Via de Cristo Weekend. While some retreats are quiet, maybe even silent, this one is very social. There is singing, group discussion, and sometimes even skits and jokes. It is definitely about Christian community and being with others. If you’re an introvert like I am, it’s doesn’t seem particularly restful.
My husband and I made our original weekends in 1990. Recently I was part of a group of cursillistas (this is the term for someone who has made a cursillo, or 3 day retreat of this kind — the movement originated in Spain and so many of the words used are Spanish) who showed up to help with a weekend retreat in progress. I got to see some “significant others” from my past Christian walk, others who “came along with me.”
I’ve heard it said that every Christian needs a Paul (mentor), a Barnabas (peer/encourager) and a Timothy (someone to mentor) in their lives. The first person I ran into was Doris — Doris is older than I am, and a Christian I have always admired her calmness, good judgement and maturity. Definitely a Paul. Then I saw Mary. Mary and I are close to the same age, and our children grew up in the church together. We shared so many experiences as we matured spiritually and became leaders in the congregation. Mary is a Barnabas. Finally, at the end of the evening, I got a hug from Amy, Mary’s daughter. “My mentor” she exclaimed as we embraced. Wow! I never knew Amy thought of me that way. I guess she’s my Timothy.
While helping with the weekend was not a traditional “rest” experience, it was rejuvenating to reconnect with others who have influenced my life, and who have been influenced by me. It’s a way of taking a break from the day to day and gaining some perspective by looking back. We don’t always see what’s being accomplished while we’re in the midst of things, but God is always at work. Whether you’re resting or relaxing, on retreat or celebrating the sabbath, remember to take someone along with you. We’re not meant to journey alone.
For more on Via de Cristo see these posts: