2/22/14

LECTIONARY: OUT OF TOUCH OR VALUABLE GUIDE?

If you belong to Emmaus Road, you know that on most Sundays, and even in a few small groups beyond Sunday, we follow the Revised Common Lectionary. I like to view it as a valuable guide for the church, and for myself as pastor and preacher. It disciplines us to move through much of the Bible over its three-year cycle. Many lections include passages which I would overlook, yet they are passages with much to say. If you read this post - Something Other Than the Lectionary - along with ensuing comments, you hear good questions about the Lectionary's role, and how it can be used well or poorly. To some, it can seem a rigid, out of touch structure. It can be blamed for keeping preachers familiar with obscure Bible texts, yet estranged from people. On the other hand, people can seem to be in touch with their personal needs, yet out of touch with what the Word says to them.  The entire topic raises the importance of healthy communication channels between us, God, and each other, and between preachers and congregations. We are reminded that a core belief of the Church is that God continues to speak to us through the Law, Prophets, Psalms, Epistles, in light of the Gospels. How well do we listen? How well do we share?




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The Emmaus Road Story

In the winter of 1997, we began as a small team of about 10 people, committed to gathering and growing a church that would connect with others like ourselves; people interested in connecting with God, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, but disconnected from the activity of many mainstream congregations. With the financial support of a larger church organization, our pastor was able to work full time with the team in planning, leadership development, and meeting people in the community.

Our first meetings were open discussion forums. We talked about prayer, scripture, spiritual discipline and the issues with which we all struggle. As friends talked to friends, the first group expanded and we multiplied into two.

Inspired by the journey process as a metaphor for spiritual growth, we searched for a name which would reflect that idea. In the resurrection narrative of Luke 24, we found our name "on the road to Emmaus."

After our first worship event on Good Friday of 1997, both groups began to gather together for worship once a month. In various coffee shops and rental spaces, we gradually increased our worship times to twice a month, and in September of 1998 we decided to gather every Sunday. Since the beginning, numerical growth has been gradual but steady, most often through the personal contact of friends talking to friends.

Today, several small groups continue to meet for open discussions on prayer, scripture, and the process of encountering God in daily life; we all gather for worship each week.