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Monday, May 9, 2011

The Road to Emmaus -- back and forth

One of the fun things about Luke's story of the road to Emmaus is that no one knows for certain where Emmaus is.   There are some good guesses, and certainly tour guides will pick one and deliver pilgrims there by the thousands--but no one really knows where Emmaus is.   I like that.  For me Emmaus has always been a metaphor for the place I am heading.   Or perhaps more honestly it is the place to which I'm running toward!  Trying to leave some experience, problem or people behind we often find ourselves on the road to Emmaus, just hoping for some distance between us and what we are trying to leave behind.  

Then something curious happens--Jesus shows up.  And in the presence of Christ the conversation continues, the eyes of the heart are opened and we begin to see Jerusalem more clearly; that is the person, place or thing from which we are running away from.   And eventually it is this clarity, fueled by the presence of the risen Lord, that leads those two on the road to go back---back to the very place they were previously running away from.

Isn't there some important spiritual truth in this?  That often times our spiritual welbeing is connected to our ability to face those things from which we initially were trying to escape.   Do you have some places, people, situations for which you should probably be revisiting through the eyes of Christ?   Is there a phone call, a letter, a conversation that should probably be made, but one from which you initially ran away from?   Perhaps life is a continuum of going and returning between Emmaus and Jerusalem?

LUKE 24   On the Road to Emmaus

13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.

17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does 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. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but 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. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But 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.

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.


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