by Rev. Mary L. Janz
What is the “correct” spelling anyway? What does it say in Luke 24, the only portion of scripture that mentions the road and the conversation on the way to this place? Well, it depends on the languages cited when reading this text.
Over 160 years ago in Racine the Scandinavians mimicked what they read in their Bibles, and it was spelled “Emaus.” Then, decades later, as the congregation had gravitated to the use of the English language and to their Bibles written in English, the official spelling became “Emmaus.” Who would have guessed that six years ago the new worshiping community, with roots in the Spanish language, would look at the passage in Luke 24 in their Spanish Bibles and see it was spelled “Emaús?”
Conversations have recently been unfolding regarding the desire to bring the communities of Emmaus (English speaking) and Emaús (Spanish speaking) together to officially create a new congregation where both languages and a variety of cultures are acknowledged and honored. Within the conversations the question arose, “What would our name be?” It was Pastor Jhon Freddy who lightheartedly suggested, “What about Emmmaus—with three m’s?”
I, for one, like this suggestion. It brings our traditions together without compromising the important message of the scripture passage of Luke 24 where the resurrected Christ is made known in the breaking of the bread. The impact is so great that immediately, following this encounter with the One who has defied death itself, those who have experienced the miracle can do no less than go out and share the Good News with those in Jerusalem! Now, rather than grieving, they have a mission!
We will be prayerfully asking over the next weeks and months, “How are we, of Emmaus and Emaús, being called out? Where have we experienced Jesus in the breaking of bread? How are we transformed by our encounter with the Living Christ? What/where is Jerusalem for us?
A visioning / transformation team of twelve people is now being formed. We will spend the summer looking at new possibilities, including a joint constitution and joint budget for “EmMmaus.” We are also in conversation with those at the synod and national level of the ELCA, and we have been assured that there will be some financial assistance from the ELCA (estimated to be $24,000 in the first year) should the congregations of Emmaus and Emaús become a new congregation with a shared vision and mission. Worship services and bible studies would continue to be offered in both English and Spanish.
Our prayer continues to be that the Holy Spirit guide us, lead us and show us the way as we prepare to take the next steps in this journey, joining hands and hearts, going where Jesus would have us go. If you would like to have a role in the visioning process, let me know! Meanwhile, we all continue praying, “Thy will be done…”
Looking to the future with hope,
Pastor Mary L. Janz