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 or church. 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 encouraged to do two things following their weekend:
- Expand their own spiritual lives through study and congregational participation
- Become more active disciples of Christ in the world through their churches.
History of Emmaus
Originating in Spain in the late 1940s, 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 (a unit of the Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church) 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.
Purpose of Emmaus
The focus of Emmaus is God as known in Jesus Christ and how that finds expression in the local church. The objective of Emmaus is to inspire, challenge, and equip local church members for Christian action in their homes, churches, and places of work. Emmaus lifts up a way for our grace-filled life to be lived and shared with others.
Who Should go to Emmaus
Emmaus is for the development of Christian leaders who: wish to strengthen their spiritual lives; may have unanswered questions about prayer, study, and sharing their faith; understand that being a Christian involves responsibility; are willing to dedicate their everyday lives to God in an ongoing manner; have positions of responsibility in the church and the world.