By Char Harris Allen

During a rather damp weekend in March the weekend before Palm Sunday weekend, I participated in an Emmaus Walk held at the Oakwood Inn in Syracuse, Ind. The rain did not stop the joy of the weekend. By Sunday, the sun was out.

For a break in the action, along with a leader from the Walk, I basked in the warm sun, and thought about how marvelous was the previous night. Lake waves reminded me of waves of gladness that washed over me since the first morning of the Walk.

No, I will not give away any of the details. What I will suggest is that it if one can find a sponsor, (which there are many out there), then sign-up for a weekend that is at the right time in your life for the Walk and go with open heart, mind and spirit.

As many others, my experience was an experience meant for me. Yes, those on the Walk witness all that is involved, take in what is presented and experience all the sensory happenings, but overall it is about the working of the Holy Spirit. One need not go into an Emmaus Walk anticipating anything.

Folks may tell what occurred for their experience, but it doesn't mean it always happens for each walk and that one will go through the weekend in the same way. One can hope it will be memorable and life-changing, but it's on God's terms by the work of the Holy Spirit and by accepting the love of a gracious God.

One does not have to possess a Masters of Divinity degree, nor does one need to believe that he or she is above the experience. One may be a lay person or a pastor. There are Walks for men and Walks for women, and they are all different. There is a Walk for youth known as a Chrysalis "Flight" and is done over a shorter weekend.

People who witness a Walk are not better than anyone else, but there is potential for a better life-journey with Jesus. I experienced the Walk as fun, Spirit-led and each person seemed to walk away with his or her own opinion, meaning: there is no stipulation of what Christian denomination folks should be.

Although many United Methodists have been on the Walk and others United Methodists may lead various parts of the experience, an Emmaus Walk is welcoming to all who are ready to have a closer relationship with The Master. Each individual person can be influenced by the Emmaus Walk to enrich his or her calling in the church, as well as his or her faith in Jesus Christ.

The Emmaus Walk is not a cult and is more than an emotional happening. It is a once in a lifetime experience, and depending on how one embraces it, a Walk may last a lifetime.

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Char Harris Allen serves as pastor of The United Methodist Church in Walkerton, Ind.