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Monday, April 28, 2014

Emmaus Road

Robert Zund painted this famous picture of the Road to Emmaus in 1877.  I seen have reproductions hanging in churches and pastors studies more times than I can remember.  The painting is quite soothing, the two disciples walk along a wooded path while Christ walks between them.  Up in the right hand corner the clouds seem to give way to some blue sky as the light seems to be making inroads into the dark forest of trees to the left.   Of course the two disciples, Cleopas and his companion (could it be his wife?) are recipients of the greatest Bible Study ever given as Jesus opens their eyes to the scriptures.  Then of course they stop for the night and encourage Jesus to stay with them.  It is then that Christ is revealed in the breaking of the bread.

Many will pastors will preach about communion on this Sunday, that Jesus still meets us in the breaking of the bread.  That's a perfectly good approach and never a bad thing to lift up.  But I wonder if perhaps as important as this is the two disciples act of hospitality.  It is after all their hospitality to this stranger with whom they shared the road that leads directly to their realization that it is Jesus in their midst.  What if they hadn't asked him to stay; would they have just thought that this stranger was a great teacher, a curious fellow traveler, a rather learned Rabbi that they would soon forget?   Or can we also see in this story an echo of Matthew's reminder that we see and actually minister to Jesus when we are engaged in works of love and mercy even to the least of these? (Matthew 25.31-46)   Was the teaching that Jesus gave them on the road connected at all to their decision to extend hospitality to the stranger?  

Where do we expect to see Jesus?

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