Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Sunset Road- Reflection on Luke 24 and the walk to Emmaus

Reflection given in Chapel today.

         Have you ever gone somewhere and been so immersed in thought or discussion that you don’t noticed that you've past a few people along the way. Or maybe gone on a road trip and get so lost in thought that you arrive at your destination and think, “Hey, how did I get here!?” There’s been a few mornings I have arrived at Bristol Glen and wondered that. 
In this afternoons passage we join two of Jesus’  followers, Cleopas and his unnamed companion, who were not of the inner 11 disciples. These two followers are are walking. Where they are going, ultimately, we don't know only that they are on the road to Emmaus, a town 7 miles west of Jerusalem.  Its Easter, towards the end of the day. They are walking west, into the sunset. Into darkness.The sun is probably in their eyes, keeping them from recognizing this stranger who joins them on their walk. Their walking but they aren't paying attention.1 
When I look at this passage, I read about movement. Movement in the walking away from Jerusalem. Movement in that the two were actively being prevented from seeing jesus in that moment. But there is movement. And Jesus doesn't force himself into that movement. He merely joins in and lets the two invite him in. So much about life is about movement.
I couldn't help but think about what the two disciples were carrying. And I think it is something we all carry with us on our journeys. That is that we carry our disappointments with us. These two followers are walking to Emmaus and they are blinded, by the sun maybe, but more so by the weight of their disappointments. Their very hope of new life, of a savior, had died a nasty death. These two were so focused on their disappointment that they lost sight of hope. They lost sight of the very person in whom their hope lied…And He was walking with them. But they couldn't see that because of their disappointment.
But I think that is very much what this “Christian” life is about. We have gone through the jubilation and excitement of Palm Sunday. We have gone through the disappointment of Good Friday and the Joy of Easter…But then we still have our disappointments. 
As Christians, like Cleopas and his companion, we walk to the sunset. We walk into darkness, no matter where we are on our faith Journey. Portions of that walk will be dark. But we walk. I mentioned in my palm sunday message, that even though we walk through the valley of death, we walk. We keep walking. It is in our very disappointments that Jesus meets us on the road and walks with us. He even waits for us to invite him in. 
Eventually in our passage today, Jesus is finally known in the breaking of the bread. At a regular meal, in a regular house with regular bread. Jesus entered into these two people’s lives in a moment of the ordinary. In the ordinary moment of sharing a meal they could finally see that their Hope was with them. Out of disappointment came hope. 
  It isn't just at the communion table that we are able to be with Christ. Sure, that is how we formally, as a group can be with Christ. But it can be the dinner table. It can be on a bench over a cup of coffee. It can be anywhere.  He is the host in church, but also a guest at every home.
When the two recognize Jesus, they are overwhelmed and filled with such Joy, so much so that they need to share it. Immediately. With the disciples and promptly begin walking back to Jerusalem. Thats a 7 mile journey. At night. Walking. With no car. At night. 7 miles. And they arrive to find the others have had a similar experience. They have shared their experience.  And it is in this shared experience that they find joy and fellowship are able to celebrate their hope. Together. As we are called to do. 

So let us celebrate. Disappointments and all. Let us walk into the sunset on the road to Emmaus, confident that we walk to the sunrise. Let us come to the table of our lord Jesus and know that our Hope is right here. Right now. Amen.

1: Barclay, William Gospel of Luke.  The New Daily Study Bible. 2001 Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville

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