Notes from Brother Jay

     Kathy and I are away at Camp J.D. Tygart for the Women’s Walk to Emmaus #112 this weekend.  A team of lay people and 5 clergy, along with 38 “pilgrims,” will finish up about 5:30 this afternoon and return to our normal lives.  For some it will be a relief, but for most of the women, those “pilgrims” who attended their initial Emmaus weekend, Camp Tygart became holy ground.
     Mike Green is preaching in Ocilla today having returned from his own pilgrim experience last weekend.  Now Mike is special, having been employed in the church and holding a Masters in Divinity, he knew a lot of what the speakers taught.  Mike also arrived at the camp with a history of intentional spiritual growth.  Most of us aren’t nearly that intentional when it comes to spiritual things.  
Road to Emmaus     Others from the Ocilla congregation who attended the weekend include Vernon and Jean Biggers, John and Drama Norton, Howard and Janet McMahan, Lisa Hudson, Steve and Denise Hamby, Bill and Kim Prather, Gordon Tapp, Joe Davis, Mary Ester Hudson, Chrissy Dent, Dee and Chris Hodnett, Lee and Kim Busbin, James “Tadpole” and Lisa Hall, and now Mike Green.  All survived and returned to us looking much like they did when they left.  They did not learn a secret handshake, nor memorize an oath, nor did they walk any farther than from Ocilla UMC to the Catfish House!
     Some went 2 decades ago, others two years ago, and Mike went last week.  Some have returned to serve on a team.  Every one of them learned the same thing in much the same way, that God’s love is far greater than they ever imagined.   
     The Walk to Emmaus is a spiritual journey.  The name comes from Jesus encounter with two disciples returning their village of Emmaus after His resurrection.  While they walked, they talked, telling this “stranger” the story of Jesus. He listened and seemed to enjoy their company.  As was the cultural norm, they invited Him into their homes for the night.  When they broke bread…Well you know the story, they discovered the “Stranger” was no stranger at all.
     Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost, to bring both eternal and abundant life to everyone who believes.  Unlike those disciples of old, we have the New Testament to reveal Jesus.  Just like the disciples of old, Jesus can and will reveal Himself to us through personal encounters.  Encounters which defy any explanation not using “heart” language. “Didn’t our hearts burn within us,” asked the two Emmaus road travelers.  John Wesley famously said, “My heart was strangely warmed!” at the house on Aldersgate Street.
     Not everyone needs a retreat like the Walk to Emmaus.  You deserve to know the immensity of God’s grace!  You can know God’s love in the same way by saying “Yes” to God’s invitation to the holy ground of Camp Tygart, either next Fall or the Spring of 2018.
     If you have questions, or feel a tug on your heart, talk to one of us.  Ask if we would do it again?  Ask about our regrets?  Then ask how you can go!

Brother Jay

P.S.  Your last 4 Pastors, including me, attended and supported The Walk To Emmaus for good reason.  It is an opportunity we covet for you!


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