An interactive walk based upon the story of The Road to Emmaus. Using GeoLocation the next stage of the story is revealed as you reach each marker. There is also the opportunity to consider a question and take part in a photo challenge!
Length: Approximately 1 mile.
Difficulty: Very easy.
Terrain: The walk can be quite muddy in places, especially in wet weather. Wellington Boots are essential.
Starting location: Forest Town Church, Lyon Way, AL4 0LB.
Sights: Horses, in the field. Rabbits, robins.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN: PLEASE TURN ON THE GPS LOCATION SETTINGS FOR YOUR DEVICE.
The story will be revealed here.
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT: There will be questions to think about on the walk on the theme of 'relationship'.
PHOTO CHALLENGE: There is also a photo challenge to complete!
I remember it like it happened yesterday.
Mary and I were walking this very path together. Though the sun shone brightly through the gaps in the leaves of the trees, there was a heavy mood about us, thick with disappointment. We argued back and forth about all that had taken place: How could this have happened? Why did we trust him? How could we have been so foolish? What money did we have left? What were we to do now? Were there relatives who could take us in? What will happen to the others?
All the while we wandered aimlessly down the road, grudgingly putting one foot in front of the other, just to keep moving, to keep going. But to where?
Away from that town anyway. Away from the misery. Away from the pain and the disappointment. Away from those wishful thinkers with all their empty hopes. Away from the grievers and the mourners and the tears. Away.
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT: Relationships take work and sadly sometimes they break down. What do you think it takes to make a relationship (of any kind) work?
PHOTO CHALLENGE: Take a photograph that represents 'brokenness'.
At first we didn’t even notice the stranger. Following the markers we plodded along, our faces downcast, arguing along the way.
He must have approached as we continued to argue. We walked together awhile before there was a pause. Then he spoke with Cleo first, I think – yes, it was Cleo. He didn’t say much, a courteous greeting, then he just asked what we were talking about.
Funny really, it was a simple question, but it struck a nerve in me. It was like a dagger in the heart. All the pain welled up in me and just flowed out, all at once. I wasn’t very polite. I gave him both barrels. I probably shouldn’t have spouted off like that, especially with Cleo there, but how could a stranger ask something like that? Couldn’t he see we were upset? Hadn’t he heard what had happened? Where had he been these past three days?
Oh yes, I told him all right. I told him the whole story.
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT: All relationships have occasional arguments. Think of the last argument you had. What was it about?
PHOTO CHALLENGE: Take a photograph that represents 'anger'.
Mary nearly bit the stranger’s head off when he asked what we were talking about. He didn’t seem to mind though. He was… calm, serene, almost otherworldly. I probably should have noticed something strange about his manner then but I… I just didn’t expect it! Who would?
The man just walked along, listening. He didn’t seem shocked, surprised or sad about the news. He just took it all in. It probably did Mary some good to get it off her chest anyway. We’d been arguing for hours.
She told him about the things we’d seen. Incredible things. Impossible things. Magic like no-one had ever done before. Like the time he’d brought a dead person up from the grave! And the things he’d said; no-one had ever spoken like him. He could have a whole mountainside hanging on his every word, then the very next day a whole town would be in uproar because of one sentence.
I chipped in with the other parts of the story. The way he had challenged the authority. No ruler could tell him what to do. Even the Romans didn’t know what to make of him!
That is – until the end. Until they arrested him. Until they twisted thorns and pressed them to his skull. Until they left him to die the death of a common criminal.
It just didn’t bear thinking about.
Then of course there were the crazies. The crazies who said they’d seen him, working as a gardener!?
It was at that point the stranger smiled a broad smile…
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT: A wise man once said, 'There's no greater love than to be willing to die for your friends.' What do you think? Would you be willing to die for someone else?
PHOTO CHALLENGE: Take a photograph that represents 'pain'.
When Cleo mentioned the gardener and the stranger smiled it was like it was the first time I’d really looked at him – the stranger I mean – looked into his eyes. I’d been almost too busy talking to really notice him. He had a kind face. It was familiar somehow, yet not special. His skin was creased but not from care, perhaps from smiling rather than frowning.
Then he laughed, a gentle laugh. He called us foolish – yet somehow it didn’t sound arrogant, just the truth. He told us, "A wise man once said: 'Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.'"
A strange thing to say, but it echoed with me, like I suddenly understood what he meant.
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT: What do you think? Can a broken relationship ever be fixed? What do you think it takes to have a new start in a relationship?
PHOTO CHALLENGE: Take a photograph that represents 'sacrifice'.
And as we walked together he began to tell us the full story, the backstory. I wish I could tell you all that he said! Listening to him we finally understood it all. He told us the old tales first, the ones we knew; but he weaved them together like jigsaw pieces in a larger picture, one grand story of loss, hope and redemption.
And there were clues we had missed. The suffering servant – how had we missed that? The thirty pieces of silver! It all suddenly made sense.
As the sun started to go down, we approached the village. The stranger seemed to want to continue on his way but we urged him to join us for supper. The tale he’d told deserved at least a meal! And it was then – sat at the table – the last piece of the jigsaw fell into place…
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT: It takes a lot of time to get to know people well in a relationship. Outside of your family, who knows you the best?
PHOTO CHALLENGE: Take a photograph that represents 'friendship'.
Oh yes – then we knew him. Mary and I, it all suddenly made sense. The bread broken, his body broken, the cross. All of this he’d done for us! And all the while he spoke it was like our hearts had been slowly coming to life… now they were on fire!
Gone was the dismay, and the disappointment. Gone were the tears of loss, now only tears of joy! Now there was hope! Now it had all changed!
And we knew in a moment we had to tell the others right away.
We looked around the room, the stranger was gone too. No – not a stranger anymore. But it didn’t matter. We were heading back – back to the others. This couldn’t wait for the dawn, they had to know now.
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT: Someone once said, 'This is life: knowing God.' What do you think? Can you ever really know God personally? If you could, would you want to?
PHOTO CHALLENGE: Take a photograph that represents 'hope'.
We arrived back. What a journey it had been! We found the others, still sitting in the upper room – confused, disheartened, despairing.
How their faces changed when we told them!
“Jesus! Jesus is alive!”
We told them everything. How he had walked with us, talked with us, explained everything. How we hadn’t recognised him until that moment, when he broke the bread and prayed. How our hearts had burned within us all the while he was with us.
And now there was hope again.
Now everything would be different…
PHOTO CHALLENGE: Take a photograph of your team completing the walk!
Starting from Forest Town Church entrance, turn left and walk towards the end of the road. There will be a small entrance to the cycle path on the right with a green metal railing. Go through this entrance to the pathway.
Turn right and follow the cycle path for a few hundred yards. On your left will be an wooden entrance with a green gate. Go through the entrance into the grassy space.
Turn left and follow the concrete markers that show you the footpath. Keep to the path laid out by the markers. After a short while you will come across a small collection of thistles which may have red berries (if they are in season).
Continue to follow the markers. A little further along you will come across a fallen tree on your right (across from you may be an expanse of water).
Turn left here and follow the broad path. In the distance are some silver metal railings that stand out from their surroundings. Keep the railings in front of you and slightly to the right. Close to the cycle path you will come across two manhole covers in the ground.
Turn right and follow along the edge of the hedge until you reach a large metal fence (not barbed wire).
Climb over the fence carefully and return to the cycle path. Turn left and follow the cycle path until you reach the entrance you came through originally (on your right).
To start the walk again, refresh the page.