Thursday, February 25, 2010

On the Journey

Luke 24:13-33 (New International Version)
On the Road to Emmaus
13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him.
17He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"
19"What things?" he asked.
"About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see."
25He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ[b] have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.
30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"
33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together

For the Journey
We turn to Luke's Gospel for his unique resurrection story. Two of Jesus' followers, who failed to see Him in the breaking up of their personal hopes and failed to see Him in the breaking up of His companions, will now recognize Him "in the breaking of the bread."
As a "companion," literally, "with-bread," is how Jesus comes alongside these two dispirited disciples. Their heads are down and they see the earth without any hope for the new life they had sought in the teachings of Jesus. As a companion He joins their darkness and gently leads them through their reflections on what has recently happened in Jerusalem. Their eyes are dimmer than their spirits and they find it hard to believe what they saw happen and what they have heard about His Resurrection. They didn't see it happen, so for them, it didn't really occur.
We watch and listen to their sharing in the rising of Jesus as their hearts burn within them while they listen to this mysterious companion. He is a "collector," a "finder" and He has risen to raise both those who seek for Him and those who take the road back to Emmaus.
We find comfort and great joy in watching Jesus compassionately go out after those who have their hearts and hopes broken. It is so human to doubt and want to turn towards where ever our Emmaus hiding place may be. They freely turned to their own tombs burying their frustrated plans and fractured friendships. Our self-chosen tombs can be such comfortable resting places. These men are going back, and in meeting Jesus they will want, not to go back, but to return.
We have been praying often about our own tombs and hiding places. Their walls of fear, the locked doors of self-negativity and regret, have been abandoned and yet we know their comforts and the easily-found roads back to their ever-opened portals. It is very dark in our tombs and Jesus constantly invites us into the sunshine. The word "consolation" literally means, "with the sunshine" and conversely, "desolation" means "down out of the sunshine".
The men we watch this day experience the warmth of the sun in their being invited out of their darkness. We pray this day with the joys of having been found, having been called out into the sunshine. We also pray with the joy in the awareness that He will always be collecting His followers in the breaking up of their hearts and hopes. He has risen so that we might have confidence in His grace more than our fragile selves.

Dear Jesus,
We read the story of the men on the road to Emmaus. We shake our heads and wonder, how could they see you, someone they love and trust so much, and then not even recognize you? We would certainly recognize you….wouldn’t we?
We feel like we’ve been through so much together. How could we not see you? Well, except maybe when we are worried about how successful we are or how we look to others. Or wondering why we have to speak up about injustices to the poor when we are so busy already. We know we fail to be our best self so often, and we know how often you are there in that failure to forgive and support.

Love and Peace,

"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

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