A Journey With Christ:
The Gospel of St. Luke relates the story of the risen Christ appearing to two who were going along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Two friends were walking together, sharing their hearts' deepest concerns. The risen Christ joined them and explained the scriptures as they walked, how it was ordained that Christ should suffer and so enter his glory. This experience on the road was a heart-warming experience as the risen Christ walked and talked with them. The illuminating climax of the experience was when Christ took bread and said the blessing, then broke it and gave it to them. The two had their eyes opened and they recognized him as the risen Christ and they rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the others. (Luke 24: 13-35)
What Is The Walk to Emmaus?
The above story provides the image for Emmaus, an Upper Room program that calls forth and renews Christian discipleship. Like its predecessor, Cursillo de Christiandad (Spanish for "short course in Christianity"), the Walk to Emmaus is a three-day experience which takes a New Testament look at Christianity as a lifestyle. It is a highly structured weekend designed to strengthen and renew the faith of Christian people, and through them their families, congregations and the world in which they live. Emmaus is a combined effort of laity and clergy toward the renewal of the church.
What Happens At Emmaus?
The "Walk to Emmaus" is a 72 hour experience. The weekend begins on Thursday evening and ends Sunday evening. At Emmaus, you will spend three busy but very enjoyable days, usually at a retreat center. You will live and study together in singing, prayer, worship, and discussion. Discussions center around fifteen talks given by laity and clergy. These talks present the theme of God's grace, and how that grace comes alive in the Christian community and expresses itself in the world. You'll also discover how grace is real in your life, and how you can live in the life of grace, bringing grace to others. You will have the opportunity to participate in the daily celebration of Holy Communion, and to begin to understand more fully the presence of Christ in his body of believers. You will experience God's grace personally through the prayers and acts of service of a living support community.
What Happens After Emmaus?
One of the primary strengths of Emmaus is the follow-up. Your weekend lasts only three days, but you are invited to build on it for the rest of your life. Those who attend a "Walk to Emmaus" are encourage to do two things following their weekend:
To nurture this process of discipleship, the Emmaus movement offers specific opportunities. First, reunion groups of four to six people meet weekly to reflect on their quest for spiritual growth and encourage one another in their discipleship. Second, there will be monthly meeting called "Community Gatherings". All people in a particular Emmaus community or area are invited for fellowship, worship, and information instruction. Third, through a newsletter, the Community is made aware of support needs for upcoming Walks to Emmaus and of opportunities to work in a variety of ways during future weekends.
History of Emmaus:
Originating in Spain in the late 1940's, Cursillo moved to America in the late 1950s. It was primarily a Roman Catholic movement until the 1970s. As Catholic centers started accepting applications from Protestants, efforts began among some groups to make the Cursillo experience available to all Protestants. In the late 1970s, The Upper Room formed The Upper Room Cursillo Community in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1981, by mutual agreement between the National Secretariat of the Roman Catholic Cursillo movement and The Upper Room, the name of the Nashville Protestant community was changed to Emmaus. The Emmaus movement is ecumenical.