Every Monday at noon for the past 11 1/2 years I eat lunch with these ladies. Once or twice a year we bring dishes of food and share pot luck and or planned menu together. Most Mondays we bring our own lunch and sit at the generous dining table, always set by our hostess, Precious Peggy, with real (not paper) plates and flatware on place mats purchased as souvenirs from places where she has traveled. I often enjoy my plate of food on Alaska, Washington D.C., or an exotic island. Monday lunch is always an event, and never has a dull moment.
Our purpose for meeting is not a social motive. Each of us has in common our Walk to Emmaus, and this is the oldest reunion group in our city. Two or three of our group have been meeting continuously since Big Country Emmaus began. A Walk to Emmaus is three and a half days of love poured out on the "pilgrims", those who are sponsored on the Walk, by hundreds of God's people. After the closing meeting and ceremony pilgrims are encouraged to become involved with a reunion group to maintain a connection to the Emmaus community and to grow in relation to God. Most of the women in the Monday group, called Acts 29:1 (look it up!), are members at the same church--my church. But we also have representatives from four other churches.
It is a fact that what happens at PP's house, stays at her house from those Monday meetings. After thanking God for our food and asking the Holy Spirit to come be with us, we share our very deepest needs, joys, feelings, and longings with one another. During the first months of Muffin's job 200 miles from our home, this group of ladies prayed for our adjustment to the circumstance. In the years with three of our daughters in college simultaneously, they prayed for direction, peace, safety in travel, good health, good roommates, godly spouses for our girls, financial blessings, and more. During the years when I was the "home parent" for our youngest while Muffin was away during the work week, they prayed for wisdom, grace, steadfastness, wise counsel, revelation in parenting, and more good health and safety. When I was hit by a run away driver on my way to the Monday meeting in my brand new car, they prayed, called, wrote, and held my hand. When our youngest went away to college--far away--and faced very trying circumstances academically and socially, they prayed more and held both my hands. When my Daddy began to decline and subsequently was hospitalized, then placed in the nursing home and died one year later, just last summer, they were right there with me. They prayed, they brought food, they wrote notes and made calls that will forever be etched in my mind and heart.
The photo may appear to be a bunch of ladies having Christmas fun, but this is a photo of Glue. Great Gobs of Glue, which is the love of the Father, expressed through 12 women--the glue that holds me together when life would pull me apart. The glue that mends my brokenness when the tyrannies of time and people shatter me. The glue that sticks to me when I begin to unravel and fall off the page where my life is written by God. The glue that stiffens my backbone when it is eroded by illness or pressure or false responsibility.
Acts 29:1--the story of the Church that is the foundation on which the Bride is being built for our Bridegroom.