A Message from our Spiritual Director

Dear Emmaus Brothers and Sisters,

As the newly appointed spiritual leader for the Louisville Emmaus Community, I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and extend to you the grace and peace from God our Father! I trust and pray that your FOURTH DAYS have been filled with joy and that you and members of your family have not been touched by the COVID-19 Pandemic. There is no doubt in my mind that this scourge is from Satan and is being used to destroy our nation, our churches and our faith. Praise the LORD that we have His promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His church!

I have been reminded recently that some of the richest, most enduring spiritual writing has come in the form of letters. It’s worth pondering that the letter is the primary form of writing in the New Testament—out of its 27 books, 21 are epistles.

Perhaps it’s because letters aren’t theoretical. They address real people and real situations. I think of François Fénelon’s “The Seeking Heart” a collection of responses to people who looked to him for advice. Or Frank Laubach’s “Letters by a Modern Mystic” where Laubach writes to his father about experiments with staying in conscious contact with God. Even when fictional—C. S. Lewis’s “Screwtape Letters” for instance—the personalized style of a letter has unique power.

Shortly after the COVID-19 Pandemic began, I started writing letters to the members of the congregation I serve at Overdale United Methodist Church, potential members, as well as members of my family. The most recent installment is letter # 83 and I don’t, in any shape, form or fashion compare my writing to the Epistles in the Bible. However, I do trust that what I have written and will continue to write will help the recipients grow in their faith as they get to know God better by reading and studying His Holy Word!

With this in mind, I plan to write a letter to the community on a monthly basis as a means of encouragement during these days of uncertainty. According to the Journal that I have maintained since my Walk in August of 1986, today is my 12,825th Fourth Day. I was a pilgrim on Louisville Emmaus Walk #1, Table of Mark, and I was forever changed by the experience. As has been said many times by many people, my faith moved from my head to my heart during that wonderful weekend.

One of my fondest memories of my Walk was the letters I received on Sunday afternoon from family and friends. Originally, my wife Jackie and I were scheduled to go on our Walks in the Elizabethtown Community since the Louisville Community had not yet been established and our sponsors had gone on their Walks there. Unfortunately, Jackie’s father past away just prior to the dates for the Walks and we decided to cancel our participation. A short time later, the Louisville Community was formed and we signed up to go.

Back to my point about those letters; one of my most precious ones was from my sister Barbara, who had written her letter prior to the dates of the Walks in Elizabethtown and had indicated the date of the letter. Our sponsors had simply saved that letter and I got it on my Walk. Barbara was my only biological sister and was always my “Baby Sister” in my heart and mind. Her words touched my heart in a way that I will never forget.

Subsequent to our Walks, we sponsored my brother Mike on his Walk in Elizabethtown, and Barbara and Mike’s wife Linda on their Walks in Louisville. Both Mike and Barb served on teams for very early Walks in Louisville and Barbara was an assistant Lay Director on at least one Walk or maybe two. Their experiences proved to be rewarding and of course they had fond memories as well.

I wish I could remember the number of Barbara’s Walk but I’m getting old and forgetful. Her letter has come back to mind recently since Barbara went to be with the LORD on May 23rd of this year. Her Walk is now in heaven on streets of gold.

The Journal I mentioned earlier in this letter, contains 27,350 pages and fills twenty-seven 4-inch binders. Jackie has asked several times “what are you going to do with all those binders” and I simply say that’s up to the family members after I’m gone. To be sure, my Fourth Days have been filled with blessings from the LORD and I have recorded each and every one of them in the Journal.

I remember with tears in my eyes the account of how my sister Barbara, who was a very skilled office manager for a large corporation in Louisville, decided to have our father tell her his life’s story so she could record it for the family. Dad would eventually die while Jackie and I were serving as missionaries in Costa Rica. Dad, at best, had a sixth grade education and his grammar reflected that level of education. It was amazing to me that as I got older he was more intelligent.

Dad was the second youngest of thirteen children and was passed from one family member to another or family friend for years after his mother passed away. So Barbara convinced dad to sit down and tell his story and she recorded in short hand of course and then typed it up, correcting dad’s grammar in the process. After reading what she had typed, she decided that it wasn’t our dad and she went back and wrote it as dad had dictated his lie’s story to her. I have a copy in my files to treasure forever.

It goes without saying, that each of you have stories to tell about how the Walk to Emmaus has impacted your life. It would be my pleasure to hear your stories and with your permission include them in upcoming letters. My email address is donandjackie6006@bellsouth.net.


In closing this letter I want to share with you a poem that I composed that reflects the impact of knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I’m not a poet by any means, but I’ve seen where poetry was very common in many letters written throughout history.

HE IS MY SOURCE

He healed my sin-sick soul;
Shedding His precious blood don’t you know.
He cleansed me of all my sin;
Bidding me a new life to begin.

He gave to me the gift of grace;
Offering to help me run life’s race.
He pledged to me His constant care;
Promising me to always be there.

*And having been made perfect,
He became to all those who obey Him
the source of eternal salvation.
He guides me by His Holy Spirit;

Teaching me not to trust in my own merit.
He conquered death to set me free;
Canceling my sin debt upon a tree.

He gives me the grace of second chances;
Providing me with character that enhances.
He wiped my slate clean by His sacrifice;
Instructing me that what He did will suffice.

*And having been made perfect,
He became to all those who obey Him
the source of eternal salvation.

He allows me to lay my worries at His feet;
Hoping I will leave them there and not retreat.
He shows me mercy at every turn;
Reminding me that it’s not mine to earn.

He empowers me to obey whatever He commands;
Allowing me to face all of life’s demands.
He is my Lord and master, but yet I’m not a slave;
Imputing me His righteousness my soul to save.

*And having been made perfect,
He became to all those who obey Him
the source of eternal salvation.

He has infinite knowledge and almighty power;
Protecting me from harms way as my strong tower.
He is the answer to my every meme
Blessing me beyond my wildest dream.

He admonishes me to seek His face,
Providing me with the means of grace.
He considers me His adopted son,
Making me a co-heir with Aslan.

*And having been made perfect,
He became to all those who obey Him
the source of eternal salvation.

He forgives me of my every fault,
Exhorting me to be His light and salt.
He relieves me of all guilt and shame,
Granting me His mercy just the same.

He releases my sins as if they never existed,
Writing my name with others He’s listed.
He fills me with good things up to the brim,
Computing my true value from belonging to Him.

*And having been made perfect,
He became to all those who obey Him
the source of eternal salvation.

*Hebrews 5:9

-Rev. Donald L. Craig

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