My sister-in-law attended the Ashland (KY) Area Women’s Emmaus Walk #24 this past weekend. The sense of anticipation on Thursday was just as I remember it for my walk. The “Pilgrims” were eager but apprehensive because they don’t know what will happen over the next 72 hours. The sponsors and servants have silly grins because they know exactly what the pilgrims are about to experience.
Some think the Emmaus Community is a secretive group. It’s not at all. The reason it seems hush, hush is because words cannot fully describe the experience.
The women attempted to express the same sentiments over and over at the closing service Sunday evening. “I saw the face of Jesus,” several said. How can you explain that to someone who hasn’t seen him face to face? It’s impossible. It seems to be just a cliché but it’s not. At some point on the walk, each Pilgrim looks around and realizes she has been with Jesus all weekend. A transformation takes place at that instant. She knows her life will never be the same again.
God has been speaking to me about the need to be in real community. This weekend and my Bible reading this morning are strong nudges from God.
In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit enables the disciples to speak in other languages. There were “God-fearing Jews from every nation” in Jerusalem that day. A sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven. Then “a crowd came together in bewilderment because each one heard them speaking in his own language.” Verse 11 says they heard them declaring the wonders of God in their own language. This crowd asked “What does this mean?” But others made fun of the disciples and accused them of being drunk.
Experiencing the manifest presence of God brings people together. Those who “hear” the wonders of God are united in their search for more understanding. Those who refuse to “hear” and prefer to accuse and point out differences continue in life unchanged.
The Emmaus Community is a gathering of people united by their experience of God’s manifest presence. The indescribable wonders create a hunger to know God more deeply and a realization that without Christ I am absolutely nothing.
Do you have to go on a Walk to Emmaus to see the face of Jesus? No. But you do have to be in community with other believers to experience the fullness of the Body of Christ. Once you’ve seen his face, you’ll either be drawn in or you will reject the experience as too bizarre to be true. If you are drawn in, you will want to be with others having the same experience. That’s all the Emmaus Community is.
The Walk to Emmaus is an ecumenical Christian Renewal program open to anyone interested in a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Links to several Christian Renewal programs are listed below. Don’t be satisfied with learning about God. Find a community of people who experience God’s presence.
o Catholic Cursillo
o Christ Renews His Parish
o Cum Christo
o Episcopal Cursillo (or Happening Youth Weekend)
o High School Catholic Kairos
o Lutheran Via De Cristo
o The Great Banquet
o Tres Dias
o Walk to Emmaus ( or Chrysalis Youth Weekend)
Read about my Walk in post titled I Have Seen Jesus.