The Walk to Emmaus “Walk” is a three-day spiritual retreat that came out of the Roman Catholic Cursillo movement. The Walk to Emmaus is held numerous times during the year at various locations throughout the U.S. and the world. Separate walks are held for men and women, notes LSU’s Todd Shupe, who is also a dedicated Christian ministry volunteer.
Luke 24 tells of two of Jesus’s followers walking to the village of Emmaus. Jesus joins them, although they do not recognize him, and eventually begins to explain all of the scriptures regarding Himself. At nightfall, the men urged Jesus to stay with them and he agreed. He took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him and at that moment he disappeared! The men returned to Jerusalem to tell their story to the eleven disciples.
“The Walk to Emmaus is a unique experience of Christian spiritual renewal that begins with a three-day short course in Christianity,” says Todd Shupe.”It is an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ in a new way as God’s grace and love is revealed to you through other believers.”
The Walk to Emmaus experience begins with the prayerful discernment and invitation from a sponsor. After one accepts this invitation, they complete an application. The Emmaus leaders prayerfully consider each applicant and in God’s time, the person is invited to attend a three-day experience of New Testament Christianity as a lifestyle. After the walk is over, participants are encouraged to join in weekly small groups to support each other in their ongoing walk with Christ.
Through the formational process of accountable discipleship in small groups and participation in the Emmaus community, each participant’s individual gifts and servant-leadership skills are developed for use in the local church and mission. Participants are encouraged to find ways to live out their individual call to discipleship in their home, church and community.
“The objective Emmaus is to inspire, challenge and equip the local church member for Christian action in their homes, churches, communities, and places of work,” says Todd Shupe. “Emmaus lifts up a way for our grace-filled lives to be lived and shared with others.”
There is much symbolism in the Luke 24 story regarding our own walk with Christ. How often do we fail to recognize Christ in our presence? Once we do recognize Him, do we act as His witnesses? I ask that you prayerfully consider being a pilgrim on the next Walk to Emmaus in your area.