Woodworking. What does woodworking have to do with the Emmaus Journey? Fr. Ron Will, CPPS, and Fr. John Wolfe, CPPS, answer that question. It has to do with making connections and finding hope.
Fr. Ron shows a cross made by his brother Jerry using five kinds of wood, each of a different color from a wheat color to deep rose to black. “This multi-wood cross is symbolic for me,” Fr. Ron says. “Jesus died on a cross with his arms outstretched for all people. This multicolored, multi-wood cross symbolizes for me the variety and the multitude of people for whom Jesus died.”
Fr. Ron recalls how he got to know a Muslim family in St. Joseph, Missouri, where he was pastor some years ago. “I realized that both us Christians and Muslims trace our roots back to Abraham. … Once I learned that, it was a whole new insight to me, a whole new understanding of our relationship today. We are cousins, in a sense, of the same faith family.”
“If all the birds in the forest sang the same song, it would be kind of boring. If all the musicians in an orchestra played the same instrument, it would be kind of boring. But when you put a variety together, it is enriching,” he continued. “It’s just like when I have gotten to know Christians of other denominations or people of other nationalities and of other faith traditions, it has been fascinating and enriching for me. Not threatening or scary.”
“When we respect one another and ask honest and curious questions, it is so interesting … We have been enriched by different cultures and ethnic groups. We have been blessed by them. This multicolored cross is a symbol of all God’s family, and so my family too. We are called to see how we can bring out the best of each other by our differences.”
Fr. John notes that the two disciples on the road to Emmaus became powerful witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus. “To do that, they had to have a tremendous amount of hope that there was something new on the horizon,” he said, “I certainly discovered that when I began woodworking in earnest.“
“My hobby is in a small way of an opening [of oneself] to God’s creative work, which is in each of us because of the gift of the spirit,” he said. He was also inspired by a mission trip to Honduras and the desire to help the people of the mission.
“What I started 18 years ago, morphed into something more than I could have imagined,” Fr. John said.
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