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Ultreya -- Lay Witness Talk


This section is designed to model the “lay witness talk” that is the central feature of an Ultreya.  It includes the lay witness talk, the gospel response, and echo responses and follows the guidelines of NEC Library Booklet No. 4 Ultreya.  Readers are encouraged to submit echo responses to the current talk and to submit “lay witness talks” for future publication.  Talks should be 500 words or less and be accompanied by a “head shot” photograph of the speaker.  Send echo responses and witness talks to NECcomm_chair@nationalepiscopalcursillo.org.

 

To View Ultreya -- Lay Witness Talk Archives  CLICK HERE


WITNESS TALK:  LET GO AND LET GOD!

Twenty months ago, I sat where you are – basking in the love of Christian community like I’d never felt it before. I knew God loved me. I knew other Christians loved me. And I was excited to start putting what I learned during my Cursillo weekend into practice as part of my Fourth Day, which is really the rest of your life.

You’ve learned about the three-legged stool, prayer, study and action, and for me, the greatest gift I got from Cursillo was being more intentional about letting God be in control in my life. For those of you know me, that’s easier said than done but I think I have been better about turning stuff over to God, knowing He knows the outcome and He will help me to handle the pieces of whatever falls my way. And I feel a certain comfort in knowing that when I put my trust in the Lord, that He continues to bless me and those I care about.

In my Fourth Day, I’ve long been involved in action and I’ve worked hard the past two years to improve my study habits. I have read a number of books since my Cursillo weekend and have embarked on a journey to read my Bible regularly. I participate in a couple of small groups and attend the Midlands Ultreyas when the demands of family and work don’t get in the way. I enjoy spending time with other Christians that are continuing their journey, and many times I learn something from these folks that helps enrich my life and journey with Christ.

There are other times where I have actually recommended to my friends that they too need to look for ways to make Jesus a greater part of their lives and I hope that’s made a positive difference in their lives. Don’t misunderstand – I’m not suggesting you browbeat your friends to come to Cursillo or lecture those back home how they need to get with the program or else. But I would encourage you to open your eyes, ears and heart to discern when someone you care about is struggling and looking for a lifeline or safety net to help them in their time of trouble. That’s when you might consider offering that letting God into their situation may be helpful.

I have a friend who has struggled in an unhappy marriage for a number of years. She has young children and is caught up in the rat race of life where you go from one activity to the next, rarely taking time to step back and reflect on the journey you’re taking. When she shared with me recently her being near her wit’s end, I asked her plainly - what are you doing to fill your soul? What time do you make for yourself and do you ever think about God during those times? Flabbergasted, she admitted like most of us probably would – what time to reflect?! And how is God going to make sure my son does his homework or that my daughter gets to gymnastics on time?!

I suggested that maybe she takes a few minutes each morning before everyone gets up and say her prayers, read her Bible or a book my Cursillo sponsor gave me, The Coffee Mom’s Devotional, a book that I had found helpful in getting me to look at the busyness of life through a different set of lenses. Did her church offer a Bible study or a class during the week that she could attend while her kids were at school? I said just maybe, if you take few minutes each day or a class once a week where you can concentrate on your relationship with God, that maybe you will start to feel differently. Why not give it a try? What did she have to lose? I found that those kinds of activities were certainly bringing a calming and spiritual impact on my life and I hoped that it would help her as well.

Well several weeks later she called to tell me how amazed she was that the suggestions were working. She had enrolled in a six-week class with other women from her church and she was starting to realize that she wasn’t the only person out there who was struggling. Some were facing illness, others adult children who had turned away like the Prodigal Son, and a few that were just craving for attention and love. She had purchased the devotional I suggested and was taking time to read it and ponder the role Jesus plays in her life and how she could bring her children closer to God. More importantly, she was opening her mind and her heart to Jesus Christ.

Sadly my friend’s husband has started divorce proceedings and she is at loose ends with all the craziness that is coming to light as part of that process. I have been praying for her regularly and encouraging our friends to pray for her and her kids as they go through this difficult and uncertain time. Sometimes when I speak to her by phone, she just needs me to listen to her as she tries to process the turmoil she’s going through. Every time we speak I remind her that God loves her and that I along with many of her friends continue to pray for grace, healing, forgiveness and strength. And that seems to bring her great comfort which makes me feel better. There’s not much I can do living hundreds of miles away. I can’t pick up her kids from hockey practice or take her a home cooked meal. But I can pray for her and remind her that she’s a precious gift from God and that He loves her and will help her get through this chapter in her life. And she thanks me for that gift of prayer and tearfully asks me to not stop. I assure her that I won’t.

We all have troubles in our lives from time to time and sometimes the greatest gift we can give is the unconditional love that Jesus showed to others during his life. In the 14th chapter of John’s Gospel, Jesus says “I am the Way – yes the Truth and the Life. No one can get to Father except through me. Just believe it – that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” He later adds, “If you love me, obey me; and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter, and he will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who leads into all truth.”

Take the blessings of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit with you as your return home to your loved ones and friends from this Cursillo weekend. Enjoy the warmth of His love as you get back into your routines, and maybe you will adjust your routines, to make greater room for God in your lives.

Share the love of Jesus with those around you and know that you too can bring others to Christ. Let Him be a continual blessing to your lives and praise God for all He has given you. Share your thanksgivings and when a moment presents itself, let God help you bring someone you know or even a stranger that crosses your path to learn about the love of Jesus Christ. You’ll be amazed how God just puts the words right into your heart and then into your mouth. If you simply ask for His help, He will certainly show you the way.

Ultreya

  

Witness talk given by Karen Owens, Upper South Carolina #116, St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church, Chapin SC, at Diocese of Upper South Carolina Cursillo #121

 

Gospel Response

God Calls us to reach out to people in need, Matthew 25, and sometimes it is our friend.  Karen listened to her friend’s struggle and then she offered to her the name of a book that meant a great deal to her, but she also called her to prayer and worship, to piety.  She like the Good Samaritan did not just leave her friend, she continued her relationship of support and witness.  She met with her and encouraged her in her worship and study.  To Evangelize our Environment means doing what we can with the Faith we have to “make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ”.  It is about us “going out of our way”, getting off our busy, full life track and being present to another person in need with the gifts we have, giving what we can to bring them to Christ.  In the days ahead, where you are, take the opportunity to share the faith with someone who has questions, is struggle, on a journey needing to know Christ. 

The Fourth Day is the rest of your life.  In the Fourth Day we continue to build on the foundations of our faith.  Cursillo gives us a disciplines which can empower us as we strengthen our foundation; piety, study and action and group reunion.  As we are intentional about using these disciplines we become prepared for times of service for and with others.  God calls us to reach out to people in need, Matthew 25, and sometimes it is our friend.  Karen listened to her friend’s struggles and then she went into action. She challenged her to think about her soul and the place of God in her life.  She offered to her, the name of a book for study, but she also called her to prayer and worship, to piety.  Karen, like the Good Samaritan, did not just leave her friend, she continued her relationship of support and witness.  Karen met with her and encouraged her, in worship and study.  To Evangelize our Environment means doing what we can with the Faith we have to “make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ”.  It is about us “going out of our way”, getting off our busy, full life track and being present to another person in need with the gifts we have, giving what we can to bring them to Christ.  In the days ahead, where you are, take the opportunity to share the faith with someone who has questions, is struggling, on a journey needing to know Christ.  Our thanksgivings are intended to be shared, so our foundation is strengthened, and our loyalty to Christ becomes food for those who are hungry and thirsty.   

ULTREYA

Gospel Response presented by Fr. Phil Pursuer, St Francis of Assisi, Chapin SC

 

 

PDF Printable Version

Witness Talk:  Let Go And Let God     By Karen Owens

 

 

To View Ultreya -- Lay Witness Talk Archives

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