Sunday, May 06, 2012

Walking to Emmaus

I learned a lot at church today and want to share it with you. Even if you're not into churchy stuff, I think what I learned is exciting in its applicability to everyone and every day life.

Today at church we had a guest speaker, Tiger McLuen, who was fabulous! He focused on the Scripture lessons from Luke 24: 13-35, the Walk to Emmaus.

I thought I was somewhat familiar with this story, but today I learned a LOT more about it. Here goes:

7 Principles of Ministry Demonstrated by Jesus Christ
(Sharing Faith on the Road of Life)

1. Walk alongside people. (Jesus appeared as a "stranger" and walked alongside his disciples who were going to Emmaus)
2. Ask questions. (Jesus asked questions such "why are you sad?" "what is going on?")
3. Let people express their understanding. (They explained what their hopes had been and how it had all ended so terribly with the crucifixion, and now they didn't know what to do.)
4. Teach them. (Jesus talked about Old Testament lessons and explained how their messiah had fulfilled prophecies and would always be with them and help them.)
5. Stay with them. (Jesus stayed with them and continued to listen and discuss.)
6. Worship with them. (He broke bread with them... in our daily walk this might just be offering a glimmer of hope or love-- doesn't have to be a formal worship service.)
7. Disappear. (Once they figured out it was actually Jesus talking to them, he disappeared. This was not abandonment; this was because they had been equipped for independence and could carry on without his physical self in attendance.)

I was floored. This is an excellent model for life! In fact, this was pretty much the model of what we attempted to accomplish at my last job (the program from which I retired).

1. Walk alongside people - spend time with our students, get to know them.
2. Ask questions - find out where they are in their life journey and what they hope to do next.
3. Let them express their understanding - how they see the world, what they understand and what confuses or scares them.
4. Teach them - we taught directly such as driver's ed training, job-seeking and interviewing skills, or we found training programs and other sources that could teach them what they needed to learn.
5. Stay with them - oh, yes. We needed to stay with them and help keep them on the right road.. again and again.
6. Worship with them - of course we were a public school district, so we did not worship, but we introduced things that would bring them joy and pleasure in addition to all the work they were doing (such as canoeing on the Mississippi, baking cookies, raising money for Pennies for Peace).
7. Disappear - once we felt they had been equipped for independence, they graduated!

I didn't know that all those years I was working, I was actually doing a Walk to Emmaus! No wonder I loved my job and found it so satisfying. I loved doing something that felt important and having a hand in making a difference in young adults' lives!!

Lately I have been thinking that my new job isn't quite as satisfying as that. I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in a career that helped people. I was lucky to end up in just such a career! My new job... it's not quite as obvious how I am of help.

Well, tonight, late on a Sunday night, I went in to work for a short two-hour shift. They were desperate for more people, so I said I'd go. It was a very fun and fulfilling shift! I ended up in a long conversation in which someone needed help and was getting it, very gradually, and as the person learned the steps, s/he was getting excited and was so thankful. This person's eyes lit up and s/he became much more energetic. I'm just a go-between at my new job, but felt so happy to be a part of this process. It was a miniature Walk to Emmaus.

I drove home feeling happy and cheered up after feeling kind of blue all day. Nothing fills my cup as much as feeling that I am contributing to people in a positive way, making a difference, helping fill a need, no matter how small.

If you aren't a churchy person (or even if you are) and you read this post all the way to the end, do you agree that these 7 principles can be applied in all our daily activities, as we share our Life Journey together?? I hope so. I am going to post the above 7 Principles at home and try to remember to Walk to Emmaus every day of my life! I know I won't be perfect at it (I surely wasn't perfect at it on my previous job nor am I perfect at my new job), but it's an excellent Life Model that I want to keep in mind.


Anonymous said...

I do believe the principles can be applied effectively in our lives, but I would add (my opinion) that they are most effective when they are applied humbly and imperceptively. That keeps the ficus on the person with whom we walk.

Sextant said...

Lovely post. I like how you drew a parallel between a teaching of Jesus and everyday life.

As you know, there is not a churchy bone in my body, but I do think of myself as a rather spiritual person. The 7 Principles you have laid out are universal. I think they apply almost across the board to almost any human endeavor. Certainly marriage and child rearing.

How about engineering. I worked as both a technician and an engineer. In engineering, six of those principles are directly one to one. Worship? In engineering? It's a stretch of the normal notion of worship but yes there is a form of worship in engineering. It is an appreciation for the fact that one stands on the shoulders of giants. When you look at our capabilities today and realize that a mere half century ago that these same things were done with hand written notes, slide rules, graph paper, typewriters, and no Internet it gives you a sense of humility. They went to the moon using slide rules!

To me, I have found a much greater proof of God in the world of science and engineering than I ever have hearing Bible stories or sermons. Why can we do this stuff? It is incredible that one animal that evolved along with the many others have such an incredible ability to communicate, love, and completely change its environment for its comfort and advancement. Some people look at science and find a reason for not believing in God. I look at math, science, literature, and human love and find evidence that screams for the recognition of something far bigger than our selves. So yes to me the practice of engineering is indeed a form of worship.

One often hears the adage of an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of type writers will eventually type out the complete works of Shakespeare. Perhaps, but what I find completely flabbergasting is how did a finite number of apes in a finite amount of time come up with the complete works of Shakespeare, the invention of writing, the concept of zero, sent space craft to the edge of the solar system, wrote Bach's Air on a G string, invented the spear, thought of relativity, manufactured the model T, used satellites to provide precise navigation available on a phone, or using paper and eventually plastic as a medium of exchange. No other creature on the face of the earth can do these things. We take it for granted.

If you take a reductionist's view of the human mind, it all comes down to electro-chemical impulses on neurons. How can a sodium /calcium exchange in three pounds of biological mush lead to the complete works of Shakespeare?

Lovely post, no damned quilts, and you made me think. Our blogs can be our ministries. We all have something to learn from others and we all have something to teach other. Thanks for your teaching today.

Sextant said...

BTW, I have a total misconception of what your job is. I thought you were working with special needs students.

Late on Sunday night? What is it that you do again?

Pattilou said...

Great words to live by!

BrendaLou said...

I'm so glad that parts of our journey through life have crossed. Here's hoping for many more in the future! Blessings.

KatieQ said...

Although I have read and heard many sermons on the journey to Emmaus, I have never heard of it expressed in these principles. Thank you for sharing. It is an inspiring post.