EASTERTIDE IN PANDEMIC - THE ROAD TO EMMAUS
Luke 24 Two followers of Jesus were going to a village named Emmaus,
about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other
about all these things that had happened.
While they were talking and discussing together,
Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
And he said to them,
“What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”
And they stood still, looking sad.
Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him,
“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things
that have happened there in these days?”
And he said to them, “What things?”
And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth………
….They drew near to the village to which they were going.
He acted as if he were going farther,
but they urged him strongly, saying,
“Stay with us, for it is towards evening and the day is now far spent."
So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at table with them,
he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.
And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him,
but he disappeared from their sight.
They said to each other,
“Wasn't it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road
and explained the Scriptures to us?”
They got up at once and went back to Jerusalem,
where they found the eleven disciples gathered together
with the others and saying,
“The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon!”
The two then explained to them what had happened on the road,
and how they had recognized the Lord when he broke the bread.”
What intrigues me about the Emmaus Road account
is that something prevented the disciples from recognising’ Jesus.
What was that ‘something’?
It’s not difficult for us to understand
why those disciples were downcast:
the past few days had been a rollercoaster of emotion,
as Jesus’, their Teacher and friend, had been killed
in the most barbaric way after a sham trial.
Only three days after the horrific events of Good Friday
rumours were flying around about an empty tomb,
and some women from their group
were trying to convince them that Jesus had risen from the dead.
It’s no wonder that ‘they were talking together
about all that had happened’.
And then Jesus himself came up and walked by their side,
‘but something prevented the disciples from recognising him’.
Grief? Despair? Confusion? Fear?
Because of the awfulness of Good Friday their vision was so limited
that they were unable to see that Jesus was with them.
Why should they?
‘Take your blinkers off,’ says Jesus, ‘open your eyes,
and allow me to show you the bigger picture.
Allow me to show you what life can really be for you:
freed from guilt, fear of the future and the shackles of the past.
Christ, there in their grief,
comforting them in their sufferings and struggles;
walking alongside, bringing fresh vision and new understanding;
‘Something prevented the disciples from recognising’ Jesus.
what’s MY blind spot? What limits MY vision?
What’s stopping ME from recognising Jesus today?
Companion Lord, in what remains of my life, I want to build, with others, a bit more of your kingdom. With others I want to experience you as we walk together towards Emmaus, have the scriptures open to us and feel our hearts burning within us.
With others I want to recognise you
in the breaking of bread,and in our daily journey through the Galilee of our common lives. With this hope, with this prayer,may we travel forward
until our travelling days are done.
Loving God, the eyes of your disciples were opened
when your Son blessed the bread, and broke it, and gave it to them.
Strip the shutters from our spiritual sight,
that we may discern his true Presence in the common gifts of life,
celebrate with all who love him,
and have compassion for those who as yet love him not.
To the praise of his name,
who in the perfect fellowship of the Holy Spirit
lives and loves with you, our one loving God now for ever.
Lord of every pilgrim heart
you are beside me and before me on the way,
surprising me through your Spirit
at every turning on the path.
Yet, like your disciples on the Emmaus road,
I often fail to recognize my companion.
In this hour, and wherever I am,
open my eyes to see your presence,
that I may celebrate with you
the gift of this moment,
O Lord of the unexpected.
Stay with us, Lord, for the night falls and we need your presence to gladden our hearts. May we know you in your word and in the breaking of bread and the sharing of wine, as did your Emmaus-bound disciples. Help us to lie down in peace and sleep, secure in your care. David Adam