The rooster is a well-known symbol of the Walk to Emmaus. The Emmaus Walk originated in Spain in 1949, initiated by the Roman Catholic Church, as a small course in Christianity. The Spanish name is “Cursillo de Cristiandad.” The original leaders sought to strengthen persons in their Christian faith so that they could then influence their families, workplaces and churches to come into a closer “walk” with Christ.
The “theme song” for the “Cursillos” was/is “De Colores”-“of colors.” The song is about all the colors of God’s creation-the fields of flowers in the springtime, the “clothing” of the birds each season, the rainbow across the sky, the sunrise and the sunset, and, of course, the many colors of the rooster. The lyrics go on to say that all the colors and beauty of creation are proof that we live in God’s grace and therefore will joyously bring our souls in offering to Christ the King, who will never die.
Because of this song, one of the often-used symbols of the Emmaus Walk is the rooster that represents God’s colorful creation and his great love for each of us-who are also of “many colors”.
The Walk to Emmaus is interdenominational since it has now come to include not only Catholics but Episcopalians and Lutherans, who began to offer a “Cursillo” in the 1960s and 1970s. It has continued to become even more ecumenical as persons from many protestant denominations participate in Emmaus Walks. The Upper Room, a ministry unit of the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church, sponsors the Walk to Emmaus and offers it through local Emmaus groups around the world.
The name for the walk changed from “Cursillo” or “short course (in Christianity)” to the “Walk to Emmaus”, based on the scripture account in Luke 24:13-35. This scripture provides the basis for the three-day walk and the follow-up. Luke tells of that first Easter afternoon when the risen Christ appeared to the two disciples who were walking together along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were totally preoccupied with their own problems and fears of the moment so that they at first did not recognize the risen Christ who “came near and went with them.” During their walk together to Emmaus, Jesus explained to them the meaning of all the scriptures concerning what had taken place through his teachings, healings, torture, crucifixion, and resurrection. When they finally arrived in Emmaus, Jesus “took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them,” and they then recognized him as Jesus, the risen Lord.
It is in the spirit of this encounter with the risen Lord that we also seek to become disciples searching to rediscover Christ’s presence in our lives and to gain a new understanding of God’s transforming grace. The “Walk to Emmaus” provides all who wish to participate the opportunity for this renewal. And the colorful rooster serves as a symbol of God’s boundless love and compassion for us all. “De Colores”