Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. [Philippians 2:12-13 NIV]
Frequently, we need seasons in our lives for renewal and re-energizing our faith in God. Even faithful Christians need to, as Paul states, “continue to work out your salvation.” Paul is not implying that we need to work for our salvation. Instead he is saying that we need to exercise the salvation that God has freely given us by grace through our faith for greater spiritual growth and love of God. It is an ongoing journey of humble service and Christian maturing.
John Wesley states that we should be moving onto perfection as a goal, becoming more like Christ. Even if we cannot achieve it in this life, this should be our aim.
We hope that this season of Lent in our immersion in the Gospel of Luke has been a time of spiritual growth for you. We would like to view our spiritual growth as always increasing on a continuous incline, moving upward and constantly getting better. Yet we know that in real life that is not always the case. Our spiritual life has its peaks and valleys. Sometimes we plateau. And sometimes we feel like we are going in reverse—even for those who have been Christians for what seems like forever.
I want to tell you about one opportunity offered in our community for getting out of our spiritual rut—a chance for renewal and lighting a fire anew in our faith journey. It is a 3-day spiritual retreat called the Walk to Emmaus. Essentially it is a short course in Christianity that teaches you the ins and outs of being a Christian, but allows you to experience it in powerful ways.
The name "Walk to Emmaus" is taken from Luke 24:13-32, where two men walking on a road to the town of Emmaus are met by a stranger who explains to them what the prophets had foretold about Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Then suddenly their “eyes were opened” and they realize that this stranger is the resurrected Jesus Christ.
The Walk to Emmaus is divided into men’s and women’s walks. The next women’s walk is on April 21-24 and the next men’s walk is the following weekend, April 28 – May 1. They both are held at the Rotary’s Camp Florida here in Brandon. About 50 individuals from St. Andrew’s have been enriched by this experience, including Jayne and me. If you are interested, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pat Grimes at email@example.com. You will be truly blessed.