The Rooster – A Symbol of the Road to Emmaus

Luke 24:13-35

The rooster is a well-known symbol of the Walk to Emmaus. The Emmaus Walk originated in Spain in 1949, started by the Roman Catholic Church, as a small course in Christianity. The name in Spanish is “Cursillo de Cristiandad”. The original leaders sought to strengthen people in their Christian faith so that they could then influence their families, workplaces, and churches to “walk” closer to Christ.

The “musical theme” of the “Cursillos” was/is “De Colores”. The song is about all the colors of God’s creation: the fields of flowers in the spring, the “dress” of the birds in each season, the rainbow in the sky, the sunrise and 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 the grace of God and therefore we will joyfully bring our souls in offering to Christ the King, who will never die.

Due to this song, one of the most used symbols of the Emmaus Walk is the rooster that represents the colorful creation of God and his great love for each one of us, who are also of “many colors”.

The Walk to Emmaus is interdenominational in that it now includes not only Catholics but also Episcopalians and Lutherans, who began offering “Cursillo” in the 1960s and 1970s. It has become even more ecumenical as people of many denominations Protestants participate in the Walks to Emmaus. 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 of the walk changed from “Cursillo” or “short course (in Christianity)” to “Emmaus Walk”, based on the scriptural account in Luke 24:13-35. This scripture provides the basis for the three-day walk and follow-up. Luke recounts that first Easter afternoon in which the risen Christ appeared to the two disciples who were walking together on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They were totally preoccupied with their own problems and fears of the moment, so that at first they did not recognize the risen Christ who “came up and went with them.” During their walk together to Emmaus, Jesus explained to them the meaning of all the scriptures about what had happened through his teachings, healings, tortures, crucifixion and resurrection. When they finally reached Emmaus, Jesus “took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them,” and they 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 seeking to rediscover the presence of Christ in our lives and gain a new understanding of God’s transforming grace. The “Road to Emmaus” offers everyone who wishes to participate in the opportunity of this renewal. And the colorful rooster serves as a symbol of God’s boundless love and compassion for all of us. “Of colors”

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