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Ultreya Lay Witness Talk (a.k.a. Fourth Day) February …

Ultreya Lay Witness Talk (a.k.a. Fourth Day) February 2011 Steve Ryder [7] Reunion, Ultreya,


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Ultreya Lay Witness Talk ( Fourth Day) February 2011 Steve RyderPage 1 of 7[SLIDE 1]Have you ever felt like you had just been drop kicked thru the goal postsof life and did not know what to do about it? I know I felt that way the time Iwas accused of running a red light in Houston, and because I argued about it, got tospend the night in the Houston jail. I carried that resentment for a long time,longer than I even thought. More about that , have I got the answer for you! I first used this song in my Group Reuniontalk at an earlier Cursillo weekend and the companion of Group Reunion is theregular Ultreya. Group Reunion is the small group that helps us grow in Christ;Ultreya is the regular experience of the larger community. This talk is the full andfinal description of the Cursillo method and life in the Fourth Day regular contactwith Christ and regular contact with one s brothers and sisters in Christ. Whilethe world has not changed, you now have a new set of tools for your is not some pie in the sky by and by, but rather down on the ground,fundamentally sound, from someone who has been around! [Courtesy of Grady Nutt,Baptist Evangelist, heard at FBC several decades ago].[slide 2]The CORE IDEAS of this talk include:x Perseverance, the key to growth in Christ through the Cursillo The Fourth Day, the rest of your life, a pilgrimage to God in which weencourage one another by the cry, Ultreya! , Onward, upward and forward!x Participation, in both Group Reunion and Ultreya, are key elements forcontinued Christian originated in Majorca, Spain. Catholic Action groups in Spain planed apilgrimage to the shrine of San Jaime de Compostela. The pilgrimage was held in1948 and was a visible sign of renewal in the the pilgrims traveled the rough terrain to the shrine, they encouraged oneanother with the word; Ultreya! a Spanish word derived from the original Latin,meaning Onward! or Keep on going! As the Cursillo method developed, Ultreyas became the community gatherings for support and Lay Witness Talk ( Fourth Day) February 2011 Steve RyderPage 2 of 7[3]THE MISSION of Cursillo includes:x Our baptismal covenant which calls us to: continue in the apostles teachingand fellowship, to persevere in resisting evil, to proclaim the Good News, tosee and serve Christ in all persons, and to strive for justice and peace. (BCP304). Cursillo provides a method to make that covenant a living reality in While our Cursillo weekend may give us a mountain-top experience, thebiblical story of the Transfiguration (Matt 17:1-21, Luke 9:28-43, Mark 9:2-29) offers us an example of how mountain top experiences sometimes lead usinto valley duty. This story of the Transfiguration is a good metaphor forour weekend. We first see that Jesus went to the foothills of MountHermon to ask God Am I doing your will . This question must be thefoundation ofAll prayer, and is the foundation of the 11th step of AA prayingonly for knowledge of His will for us . The Mount of Transfiguration was for Jesus a spiritual mountain peak. Hisexodus lay before him. Many of us can see ourselves in Peter who missed itall. Do we not all fall into the trap of doing something (the 3 alters) wheninstead it would be better to be silent? Peter wanted to prolong themoment. He did not want to go down to the everyday and common , that is not life. No sooner had Jesus come down from the heavenlyglory than he was confronted by an earthly problem and a practical demand(the epileptic child). We are down here in the world at the foot of themountain where there is confusion, compromise, and impotence. And howoften are we like the epileptic child s father Lord I believe, help thou myunbelief ! This seems to be a contradiction, but there is none of us thatdoes not experience both of them in himself. As our faith isnever perfect,it follows that we arepartly unbelievers;but God forgives us, as to reckonus believers on account of asmall portion of faith. It is our duty to shakeoff the remains of infidelity and pray to God to correct them, flying toHimfor aid. God willnever forsake us,if we keep the door open for receivingHis grace. [My thanks to John Calvin, 1509-1564, for some of the above]Ultreya Lay Witness Talk ( Fourth Day) February 2011 Steve RyderPage 3 of 7x [4] Our Cursillo weekend may have changed us, but our environments at homeare still the same. I made my Cursillo weekend in 1995. While I enjoyed theweekend, my mountaintop occurred not on the weekend, but on the ride homeand the following After the weekend, on the ride home I was reading thru the pile of letters Ihad received that morning. One of the letters was from a dear, butestranged, friend of Peggy s. Joan s letter, while to me, really was a messageto Peggy. I don t remember the details but I do recall leaking a lot whilereading the letter. Joan is again an important part of Peggy s and my Our church has a nice tradition of welcoming new Cursillistas back to thecommunity Monday night. At my first Ultreya I was asked to join a specificreunion group. I have been grouping in the same place every Wednesday atnoon since weekly small meeting is my regular mountaintop!For me Cursillo is about the support of community, both thru small groupreunion and regular larger group Cursillo provides a means by which we are able to persevere in our faithjourneys and continue to be converted by the work of the Holy Spirit withinus. Since my Cursillo I have continued to be active in many areas of mychurch community. I have served on the Finance Committee for many years,been in a choir almost all of my life, I served as Vestry Clerk for a mercifully short one year! I have been our church s WebServant since Icreated our first web site in 1997 except for a short sabbatical when wehad a Rector who did not value lay leadership and actually thought clergycould maintain the web site! With that attitude he did not last long at s, and I resumed a job I love. A very large part of my personalstory is how I was led to KAIROS Prison Ministry thru Ultreya. Think ofKAIROS as Cursillo in the Prison Environment . KAIROS, just like theMethodist Walk to Emmaus is one of several 4th Day movements that followthe Cursillo method. While my church classifies KAIROS as outreach Ithink of it as simply an extension of my Fourth Day community. In January1999, Peggy and I attended the closing service at the Ferguson unit inHuntsville. As I entered the unit seeing the security officers brought upresentments I still held toward police officers stemming from a nightfifteen years earlier as a guest of the Houston police. I left the unitresolving tonever again enter a prison! But God had other plans and threeangels to get my attention. The first was a member of my Sunday schoolclass that regularly simply said, I am praying for you . The second was at a Floating Group Reunion . At the beginning of each Ultreya we Count off ,Ultreya Lay Witness Talk ( Fourth Day) February 2011 Steve RyderPage 4 of 7then group for 20 minutes with 3 or 4 folks with whom we do not normallygroup. The second angels was a lady in my floating group who justhappened to talk about her work at the Del Valle Jail in Austin. EachUltreya also has a 4th day speaker. At this particular Ultreya the scheduledspeaker was ill, and the speaker that filled in had been the Lay Rector for aKAIROS weekend. Guess what my third angel talked about!I surrendered in that Ultreya and in July made my first KAIROS weekend. Oh, and on myway home from a team meeting the fellow next to me at the salad bar was aHouston policeman in full uniform. I just saw him as a fellow traveler andhad a nice conversation with him. The resentment was gone, and has beenever since. If I had not been faithful to monthly Ultreya I might still beholding on to it!x [5] Being changed and transformed we are able to reach out and transformour environments for Christ. (Matt 28:19) Make disciples of all nations . Ihad never been effective at reaching out, certainly not to all nations , oreven my neighborhood. The first time I was asked, Are you a minister ,because I was wearing a KAIROS Prison Ministry shirt, was not intentional,but that opportunity to witness caused me to intentionally wear the shirtwhen I travel. Many times I have had an opportunity to tell folks thatknowing God is aboutforgiveness. It is about accepting God salready givenforgiveness. It is about giving up resentments and extending forgiveness toothers. It is about freely sharing God s love for me by extending my love toothers. I get an opportunity (remember THEY ASKED) to explain that mostministry is done by lay folks, like you and me, not by clergy (aka ministers). Iget to explain that the recidivism rate of folks who participate in KAIROSdrops to 15%, while the normal population has an 80% chance of ending upback in prison when released! If following the KAIROS method (which isexactly the same as the Cursillo method) can have such an effect, justimagine how following this method can improve the Spiritual recidivismrate in your life! [Pause a long time here to let it sink in]. Do you want tobe one of the four out of five the goes back to your old ways, or one of thefour that changes your ways and they STAY CHANGED! How would YOU betyour time, talents and treasure?Ultreya Lay Witness Talk ( Fourth Day) February 2011 Steve RyderPage 5 of 7[6] WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF ULTREYA? Ultreya has four major Ultreya provides an opportunity for sharing: between individuals in theFloating Group Reunions; and with the community as a whole in listening tothe lay witness talk and participating in the responses to the Ultreya creates an atmosphere of enthusiasm where all can witness to theirown experiences of God in worship and prayer, in the encounters withothers, and in evangelizing the Ultreya aids in ongoing conversion of the participants. By praying, sharing,and hearing the Lay Witness talk, the participants are encouraged toincorporate new ideas and opportunities for growth in Christ into their Ultreya encourages evangelization of environments with the knowledge thatthe individual is a part of a witnessing community of faith, and by fosteringfriendships that encourage personal and communal how two of God s three Angels appeared to me at that ConvocationUltreya in 1999? Floating Group Reunion and the 4th Day Talk at that Ultreya inMarch are what led to my decision to work my first KAIROS weekend fouryears after I made my own Cursillo experience happened as a result of a 4th day talk at the June 2004Ultreya in Austin. This was yet another example of how God SPEAKS TO USthru our 4th day speakers. The speaker was sharing with us how her ownspiritual journey enabled her to transform her emotions about their unbornchild having been diagnosed with Down s syndrome. Thru prayer and several God Incidents , she was able to move from an initial reaction of fear andhorror to one of joy and blessing. Instead of seeing only what her child wouldNOT be able to do, she learned of the many special gifts that folks with thissyndrome possess. She and her husband also learned that THEY were blessedbecause THEY had been CHOSEN to raise this special child, this gift from God!Just two days later, God sometimes strikes while the iron is still hot, we wereable to share her experience with our son and daughter-in-law when they told usthey might be facing the same situation with their two year old. I also learnedthat they had consciously decided NOT to have that testing done when ourdaughter-in-law was pregnant because, it would not have changed our decision .Ultreya Lay Witness Talk ( Fourth Day) February 2011 Steve RyderPage 6 of 7That was a real moment closest to Christ when we both realized our son DOESget it ! He and his wife know what is ultimately important in this life.[7]WHAT IS THE METHOD?x The basic principles of Cursillo include:oA regular contact with Christ through prayer, sacraments, liturgy,study of scripture and spiritual direction; andoRegular contact with brothers and sisters in Christ through GroupReunion, Ultreya,as well as regular attendance at The Ultreya leads people to live, share, and grow in the Sprit enkindled onthe [8] The basic, suggested format of Ultreya is as follows:oMusicoPrayeroSmall Floating Group Reunions for sharing recent experiences ofPiety, Study, and Action (20 minutes). This serves tox To broaden each person s vision of ways to live in Christ andx To help people seek out and discover friends with whom to forma permanent group Lay Witness Talk (10 minutes) Tells a personal storyx About a recent action and its resultx Planned with prayer and studyx Undertaken to bring a person and/or environmentcloser toChristoLay Response and Spiritual Director s Scriptural Response reflectingon the talk and relating it to an event or events in the life of ChristoAnnouncements and closing Lay Witness Talk ( Fourth Day) February 2011 Steve RyderPage 7 of 7[9]You might now be asking yourself, how do I find out when there are Ultreyas, andhow might I find a reunion group. Remember those folks who encouraged you tocome to Cursillo, may have brought you down Thursday, showed up this morning tohelp you Greet the Morning , and may be driving you home? They are calledsponsors, and one of their duties is to help you find a reunion group. Another is totake you to the next Ultreya in your convocation. Some convocations haveUltreyas every month, some only after a weekend. Your convocation may even havea website that has schedules for upcoming weekends and Ultreyas. Some parisheshave Ultreyas; my church has one the Monday after any weekend where we hadcandidates from our parish. ASK YOUR CONCLUSION:x Recall that the word Cursillo means, short course . As the short course in Christianity concludes its first-level course, we are encouraged tocontinue our learning and growing in Christ. Group Reunion and Ultreya arethe primary tools offered by the Cursillo movement for continuing ourgrowth in Christand improving our Spiritual recidivism We can have confidence as we face our future in faith that Christ and I arean overwhelming majority , andwe have a community we can count If we will follow the basic plan of the Cursillo movement we will be able to live and share what is fundamental for being a Christian , part of thedefinition of the Cursillo The Cursillo movement s intent is tonever leave anyone stranded. Ideally,everyone can find a place to grow in Group Reunion and Ultreya. ASK YOURSPONSOR!!!x Dedication to Christ with these tools will allow our faith to become thatwhich it is intended to be:deeply felt, lived in daily life, and spread byloveinword !