Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Mission Statement of Via de Cristo is “By grace, with the Holy Spirit, we challenge leaders to discover and achieve their personal calling, assisting them to influence their environments with the Gospel.”
Who should attend a weekend? First, the candidate should be a mature Christian; this is a powerful weekend. Pray for clear guidance as to which of your new friends to invite to a weekend. We always help each friend understand the gifts he has received from Christ in his baptism. Then take time to help him understand that citizenship in the body of Christ. Help the participant to understand the special problems and possibilities within the environments to which he belongs. We know that we cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, or come to him. The Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel, enlightens us with His gifts and sanctifies and keeps us in true faith (Luther's Explanation of the Third Article). This has been a hard lesson for many Via de Cristo movements to learn. Because it is so inspiring, it seems only natural to focus our attention on the weekend. The Via de Cristo environment is a safe place to learn leadership skills. We then take into our skills into our churches to grow the body of Christ. Via de Cristo is not the end, it is the beginning; of ministry, of growth.
We always remember that Via de Cristo is not for everyone. Yes, Jesus Christ is for everyone; and, indeed, everyone will someday acknowledge him (Philippians 2:10). But not every Christian should make the weekend.
Your sister in Christ,
Are you a procrastinator? There has been a growing trend in our community for the majority of our pilgrims to be sponsored by the team members for the weekends within the last 2 weeks (sometimes DAYS) before the Via de Cristo weekends. Why do we wait until the last minute to sponsor our pilgrims? Now is the perfect time to be praying about whom we should be inviting to the fall Via de Cristo weekends! We are often waiting until a team is formed to invite people to attend the Via de Cristo weekends. Sponsorship of participants for a weekend is one of the most significant ways that we can help to influence the world for Christ and serve this community, and is a role that each of us should be praying about. Now is the perfect time to start praying for guidance about who to ask to the weekend!
God loves you and so do I!
PALANCA in Focus….Exactly how do we define Palanca? Palanca is a love gift. It’s what we give selflessly to others to encourage them in their walk with Jesus. It doesn’t have to be material in nature, but it’s always intentional. It’s praying for one another; it’s taking the time to talk with someone who just needs an ear to listen; it’s taking the time out of your day to offer your help even when you can’t spare it; it’s even giving monetary help when the situation calls for it.
So how do we keep Palanca alive on our fourth day walk? First, by remembering we are all recipients in the ultimate palanca, the gift of Jesus Christ sacrificing His life for us on the cross so that we might have eternal life. It’s by His grace that we are able to give “love” to one another. In John 15:12-13, Jesus said, “ 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” A second way to keep palanca alive is by remembering that palanca is a way of life - thinking of others before ourselves. We can reach out to strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ in so many wonderful and tangible ways. As Christians, we should also reach out to the world around us with the love of Christ. That means giving palanca to your neighbor, to your community and to your unsaved loved ones and strangers. If we love Jesus with all our heart, soul, and mind, loving our neighbor is the natural result. In this day and age where selfishness reigns supreme, we can still make an impact with the “God approach” to serving others by freely giving without expecting anything in return. In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.”
Finally, another way we keep Palanca alive is within our reunion groups. In the gathering together of Christian brothers and sisters, we encourage each other and sharpen each other like “iron sharpens iron”. We are keeping our focus on the great race set before us and keeping our Palanca alive and strong.
In the days ahead, may we keep our eyes on Jesus, our hearts open to His call and serve Him with willing hearts giving the greatest Palanca of all – Christ’s Love.
Clergy Orientation Luncheon
Happy Spring Everyone!
As I drive around for my job (I’m an itinerant teacher) these days, I drive through Amish country. I love seeing the “plain folk” prepare the ground for spring planting – the horse-drawn plows and harrows, and then the hand-sown seeding that takes place
for many of their crops. I see their chickens running to and fro in the yards –and behind the plow sometimes, pecking at insects that catch their eye. I smile as I watch and then my mind turns to an oft said phrase at our VdC weekends …. “Please turn with me to page number (fill in the blank) of your green Pilgrims’ guide.”
And now, I would like you to turn to page number 38 of your Pilgrims’ guide. Don’t worry, I’ll wait while you go get it. You do remember where you put it, don’t you? If you’ve served on a Team, you probably have at least two copies around the house. Okay, so, have you found page 38? Good. You’ve noticed that this is the page that marks the beginning of the song, De Colores. And yes, it has been called many other things, especially by music chas and by those who aren’t familiar with Spanish. The
most common ones I’ve heard are: “the chicken song” (which is what brought the “Turn in your Pilgrims Guide” phrase to mind in the first place (the chickens on the Amish farms). “Hey, Delores!” is another name the song gets tagged with, believe it or not. DeColores is also the song that has been known to break guitar picks as music chas attempt to keep the tempo going faster and faster to the end with each successive rendition during the weekend. Is it a favorite song? No, not really. The majority of us
had probably never heard it before we attended a weekend. It’s not one you’re likely to hear on Christian radio, and it’s certainly not listed in the Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) list of the Top 100 Christian songs, let alone in the Top 10!
During the weekend we are told the story of how this folk song came to exist, and we are also told that the term, “De Colores”, is a Spanish expression meaning “in colors”. The world around us is filled with the colors of nature, and the song expresses that in
its description of fields, birds, rainbows, mornings, and yes, chickens. What else do we think about in terms of colors? Well, we often express our feelings with colors: we get “the blues”, experience “red hot love”, “see through rose-colored glasses”, etc. The De Colores song tells us that love must be of every bright color to make our hearts cry, another expression of emotion.
The realization that God loves us unconditionally also creates feelings that could be described as a “rainbow”; our lives are not the same. Our vision is changed. We are changed. And it is here that we need to look closer at this song. Have you ever read all of the words? Some of the words on page 39 really stand out
… “And a love bright with colors has found me with others around me and makes my heart sing ….. With rejoicing, with rejoicing in God let us live in his life and his friendship …. Satisfying, satisfying the thirst of the true King who never can die … Shining out in the world’s lonely night with the colorful light of the love we live by ….” Additional verses along those same lines can be found by doing an online search for the origin of De Colores.
Truly, there is much more to this song than a surface glance shows. It’s not just about nature, chickens or rainbows. As a prism changes white light into many colors, the One True Light shining in each of us reflects His love to the many around us whose lives He is waiting to change; those “diamonds that will sparkle when brought to the Light”. May we be reminded of that each time we sing this simple, yet profound, song. May we be reminded of His love for us this spring as we look to Easter and the resurrection story!
De Colores! God Loves you and so do I!
A wonderful time was had by all at the Ultreya held Saturday, 11 March 2017, at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Laurel, MD.
25 Cursillistas attended! We had first-rate food, fantastic fellowship, marvelous music, and sensational singing.
Our music chas included Sharon K., Janice K., and Bro. Dan. They played I’ll Fly Away, Cast Your Nets, Down by the Riverside, and Messiah.
Instead of having a Fourth Day Speaker, we had open mic. Multiple cursillistas spoke.