Conversations with a Pilgrim
A good experience during The Walk to Emmaus can be ensured when one goes with the proper attitude. A good attitude comes from knowing what to expect. Here are some suggestions on how to prepare your prospective pilgrim:
Things You Must Tell a Pilgrim
If you are talking to married persons, keep in mind that equal commitment to the Walk from both members of a couple is desirable. Don’t rush decisions, but let the couple work toward a common understanding of what the two expect The Walk to Emmaus to do for them.
Sleeping arrangements differ in each location; explain as thoroughly as possible what they will be. Sleeping and showering are personal activities, and participants need to know how to prepare for these during the weekend. Also explain how meals will be handled so that persons on special diets can make the necessary arrangements to continue their diets during the Emmaus weekend.
Let the person know that participation is expected in all activities from 7:00pm on Thursday until 7:00pm on Sunday. Free time is limited to about three and a half hours during the weekend, and if the groups gets behind in the schedule, free time is diminished.
Everyone should bring his or her own bedding, pillows, towels, washclothes, comfortable clothes, and toiletries. Impress on the pilgrim the relaxed nature of The Walk to Emmaus–no dress clothes are necessary.
Inform the pilgrim that except for emergencies, he or she should not expect contact with family or business during the weekend and leaving their cell phones at home is a must. Explain that there will be no watches or clocks allowed so that their attention is on the weekend activities only and not on what time it is and what they would be doing instead of the Walk.
Things You Will Want to Tell a Pilgrim
Tell the person what the three days meant to you and how the Walk affected your personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Tell how the Walk has affected your family, church, job, and community.
Tell how emmaus has helped you change your priorities.
Tell how you sustain the spirit of the Walk through group reunions, gatherings, and serving during subsequent Walks.
Tell how each weekend is unique, but each person seems to find exactly what God wants that person to experience. The pilgrim can look forward to gaining a new enthusiasm for serving God.
Things You May Want to Tell a Pilgrim
Fifteen presentations will take place during the weekend, dealing with subjects like setting priorities, how to improve your knowledge about God, how to serve God in everyday settings, how to be a disciple, and how to persevere in faith.
Small groups spend time discussing these presentations.
Time is spent in the chapel meditating and praying.
Communion is emphasized. Tell the person about your response to the Communion services.
There is plenty of good food, fellowship, and a chance for all persons to find what they need for a life in Christ. Partipants should expect to deepen their relationships with Jesus and to renew their enthusiasm for serving Christ.
It is extremely difficult to avoid recruiting persons we want to see changed, but when we recruit persons with this motive, we are recruiting from the standpoint of wanting others to become like us. We are comfortable with who we are as Christians, and we want everyone else to be like us so that we will be comfortable with them. No one should be recruited to attend The Walk to Emmaus to be changed into our own image of what a Christian should be like. Rather, we should recruit with a variety of Christian perspectives so that the complexity and beauty of God’s personality taking form in human beings can be seen. The primary reason for recruiting someone to attend a Walk to Emmaus is to deepen that person’s relationship with Christ and to create an enthusiastic disciple to work in God’s kingdom. Your primary motivation for recruiting a person ought to be Christ’s love in you wanting that same love for the prospective pilgrim. Building the kingdom of God is serious work and building a strong Emmaus community and a strong church is part of that task.