Where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there among them. Matthew 18:20
Monthly gatherings of the Emmaus community are to celebrate God’s love and grace. They are held at different area churches and sometimes at parks or on Community members’ property. It is a way for new fourth day participants to meet others in the community. If you’ve been on a Fourth Day Weekend, join us—call or email John Wilson for information or check for details here.
Personal Godly growth is not a solitary affair; spiritual growth involves the support of other Godly people. This can happen in a small group of up to twelve people, or the support can come from larger gatherings.
On the Walk to Emmaus faith is re-explained, grace is re-experienced, a Godly community is realized, and the body of Christ is renewed through the revitalization of a person’s commitment to Christ. If that revitalization is not fed it will be lost. Gatherings help to maintain that commitment, and are places to worship as the Body of Believers, not just as single parts of the body. They help us to mingle with various denominations in a spirit of unity and cooperation. Gatherings help us encourage one another and persevere in grace. They are a place to encourage group reunions, to see and maintain relationships that were started on an Emmaus walk, whether it was our first Walk or our one thousandth one. And gatherings are to be a place of education: we can learn about a particular part of Emmaus, or about upcoming Emmaus activities.
The basic components of a gathering are:
SINGING AND PRAYERS—we get to sing songs we have learned and learn others. And we get the honor and privilege of praying for others in need.
FOURTH DAY WITNESS—someone is asked to witness to God’s presence in his or her life and their walk with our risen Savior. This witness can come from an experience, a spiritual learning, a reflection on a part of their journey, or a challenge to live more fully in holiness and service. This is NOT a sermon, a teaching or an explaining of the scriptures. The Fourth-Day Talk does come from the heart and is a sharing of what God has done for the speaker and how they may have dived deeper into the divine. It should be thought-out and prepared ahead of time.
CLERGY RESPONSE—There can be a response from the evening Spiritual Director to pull together the various thoughts and to highlight a connection with the gospel. This is NOT a sermon, or even a prepared talk. It is a scriptural reflection on the general theme of the Fourth-Day witness for the purpose of deepening everyone’s understanding of the connection between their lives and the story of God in scripture. The response includes a transition into:HOLY COMMUNION- We gather together as the Body of Believers to share with and inspire each other, and to feast at the Lord’s Table
EAT–Gatherings can, and usually do, include food.
BUSINESS–They also include some kind of educational moments, Sponsorship reminders, announcements of upcoming Emmaus events, opportunities to sign up for prayer vigils are explained and offered: these are all educational moments. And always ask if there is anyone who wishes to join a group reunion, or if a group has an opening for another person. .
FUN-And we can remember that we can have fun and share our joy. Jesus went to weddings. He was not a wall flower at these events. He was fully human as well as divine, and humans can enjoy themselves and laugh. One of the signs of being a follower of Christ is our joy.
Visitors are always welcome, but Gatherings are intended to be a time of sharing and encouragement from and for the Community.
Excerpted from the article Reunion Groups and Gatherings by Rev. Sue Farlow in the Cape Fear Emmaus Newsletter.
Source: What is a Gathering