My Emmaus

Furnace Dam Park
Canada Geese take one last respite in the late Fall next to the willows at Furnace Dam Park, Emmaus, Pennsylvania

I remarked to my wife the other day that I now really don’t want to live anywhere but in Emmaus (we live in Allentown for the moment but hope that that will change in the next few years). I have started referring to this place occasionally as “my Emmaus.” (The genitive case is, of course, not merely the possessive.)

I’ve moved a good many times in my life and grown fairly suspicious (and sometimes cynical) at interactions with any sort of organization that might be deemed “official.” My assumption is typically that the Great Machine, whoever its local representatives might be, is not really interested in us. This is why it wants from us only what can fill out blanks on a form.

But one of the reasons I have begun referring to our new home as “mine”—that is, it is becoming “mine” in the manner that my wife is “mine” or my father is “mine”—is that a lot of “officialdom” hereabouts really does want more from persons than just fill-ins for blanks on a form. One example of this is that the local community event organizing bunch, the Emmaus Main Street program, will gladly advertise events happening at churches.

And when I say this, I mean that they’ll pass on word about more than just the latest secular self-help seminar that happens to be meeting in a church. They’ll actually put out the word about my lecture series comparing various theologies with one another or an upcoming outreach seminar we’re having on Orthodox Christianity and the created world (with a healthy dose of localism, sustainability, etc.). With my long-developed cynicism regarding any sort of officiality, this has me wallowing in just a bit of incredulity. But they do it. Really.

I really do love this little borough.

3 comments:

  1. Father,

    I love the Emmaus area. I lived in Allentown for quite some time when it was a pleasant, safe community.

    Now I reside in the Poconos, a 50 minute drive from the Allentown area. I feel as though I am in mourning, living in an area where there is very little sense of community. Most here travel long distances to New York or elsewhere to work. A rough element from the city (Ny) overwhelms much of the area and it is evident when driving and shopping. Many developments have suffered robberies and the overall crime rate has increased exponentially in the last two decades.

    My family and friends live in the Allentown area, some in and near Emmaus. Each time I visit, my heart aches to move back. Truly I feel like Irene, in that melancholy song, “I’ll Take You Home Kathleen.”

    And yet, I am reminded, “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.” Still, for however many years our Lord Jesus grants me to live, I desire that He will take me from this lonely place.

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