by Colleen Peterson
(Lutheran Alumnae of one of our Diocesan EfM Seminar)
A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone.
Native American Legend, Author Unknown
I share this story with you because it reminds me of our EfM journey together. Like the traveler in the legend, I came here seeking “food” four years ago. The food I was looking for was a greater understanding of the Bible, and this seemed like a good place to gain that kind of knowledge. That certainly was one of the many gifts I received here. But like the traveler, I come away from this adventure with a gift even more precious than knowledge.
EfM has been a journey unlike any other I’ve ever experienced. What I found here was something genuine and honest. A place where fellow pilgrims could share their deepest joys and sorrows, a place where we could talk about what it really means to live out our relationship with a loving and faithful God. Like the traveler, I asked myself the question: “What enables these people to be like this?”
The advantage I had over the traveler in the legend is this: I had the privilege and blessing to make this journey not alone, but with you over the last four years. As we studied scriptures, worshipped, shared our stories, and broke break together, a new way of being began to emerge. God, who is always faithful, revealed the answer to my question.
It’s the Holy Spirit. Yes, that same Spirit that descended on the apostles on that first Pentecost is the same Spirit that is present here. She lives in each of you, and she lives in me. Of course She’s been present in my life all along, but it took this journey together with you for me to grasp the freedom that I have in Christ to live it out. The words of St. Paul have taken on a richer meaning: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Thanks be to God.
And thank you, my friends, for this precious gift, and for living out this truth so well, for many who have and more who will come this way on their journey through life.