Prayer before reading:
Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear you,
To receive your Spirit,
To be led by your Spirit.
Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.
Season of Easter: Third Sunday
The lectionary guide leads us through the city of Jerusalem this week to the road which runs from this political and religious capital to the quiet village of Emmaus, some seven miles to the west. We are invited to listen in as two of Jesus’ followers walk home to Emmaus. Heavy with grief, and still in shock following the trauma of the brutal death and loss of this Rabbi they had come to trust and follow as the Messiah, they are talking with each other about all the things that had happened over the last few days. As they walk and talk Jesus comes near and walks with them. Jesus! The risen Jesus! Himself! But they are not able to recognize who he is.(See Luke 24:13-35)
Here, on this Sunday evening, unbeknown to these two disciples, Jesus walks with them as they talk together concerning what grieves them: “the things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how (their) chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.” As they realize how deeply this stranger is listening , they go on to tell him about their hopes: “We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” . . . but . . .
In our own lives we too share our story, our experience with each other: our blessings, our experiences, our difficulties, our disappointments, our losses, our grief. And sometimes we find ourselves saying, “We had hoped that . . . but . . .“
Jesus holds what they have told him–about his life, his suffering, his death , and the way in which their hopes that Jesus would redeem Israel had collapsed—and then sets their understanding of the Messiah in the larger sphere of God’s Story. Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he reveals to them “the things about himself in all the scriptures.” Gradually their limited understanding of who Jesus is and what he is about is changed. They begin to see God’s presence and purpose at work in Jesus’ suffering and death—and resurrection! Their hearts are strangely warmed as they listen and are given new understanding about the new thing that God is doing to rescue the world from the power of death and the domination of the lie which had all humankind and creation in its grip since Eden.
Who is this stranger? How does he know these things?
It is as they invite Jesus into their home and sit at table together, and as he takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it and gives it to them, that their eyes are opened and they know who this stranger is: Jesus!
As we also walk and talk together with friends and others about our lives, our experience, our needs, our lost hopes, we may—in time–be ready to become aware that Jesus also listens as we speak of our experience. He walks with us in all places, times, and experiences. And we too may find ourselves saying to Jesus, “I/we had hoped that . . . but . . .”
We are invited then to listen—to hear what Jesus may say or offer in response: lifting what we have spoken into the greater sphere of God’s gracious Story and Design. Here all suffering, hope, and joy find their meaning.
Season of Easter: Third Sunday
5/2 Monday: Luke 24:13-24
5/3 Tuesday: Luke 24:25-35
5/4 Wednesday: Psalm 116
5/5 Thursday: Acts 2:14a,46-41
5/6 Friday: 1 Peter 1:17-23
5/7 Saturday: Luke 24:13-24
5/8 Sunday: Luke 24:25-35