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The Road to Emmaus

This Sunday the Gospel reading is the Road to Emmaus from Luke. It is one of my favourites readings in the new Testament and although I am preaching on it, you may not have heard me so I write further! The account of Cleopas and the disciple journeying and arriving at Emmaus, holds together both the ordinary and the extraordinary. It relates very ordinary events through two people walking together talking about Jesus’ death and resurrection and some mysterious moments. When a stranger joins the disciples and asks them what they are talking about, they are amazed. What would we think if someone asked us, ‘What ‘s all this about a virus?’ They too ask ‘Haven’t you heard? Where have you been?’ The first extraordinary moment is that strangely, they don’t recognise Jesus even he is the very subject of their conversation and he unfolds the scriptures to them. I would have liked to have heard all that Jesus said to them but it isn’t recorded. Then when they arrive at Emmaus, I am attracted to the ordinary picture of Jesus going to walk on past the inn as though he wasn’t going to enter, until the disciples insist on his joining them for a meal.

Sitting eating a meal is an ordinary daily occurrence for us all but then there is another extraordinary moment. That moment of breaking the bread, the recognition by the disciples and the immediate disappearance of Jesus seem ‘out of this world’.

Three personal questions come to mind: What do you think Jesus would say to you if he joined you as you walked along on your daily walk? Would you want to invite Jesus into your home? What do you think you would have said if you had been in the inn and watched as Jesus disappeared at Emmaus?

This is a ‘thought’ rather than a sermon so I want to pray with you all that within our isolation, within our tiredness of the ‘sameness’ of every day and within the challenges that we each face, may that extraordinary moment of Jesus, the risen Christ, maybe sitting at our table in our homes, be visible in our own imagination as he breaks the bread and reaches out to us in compassionate love.

Meanwhile we all look forward to the day we gather together to praise God. A traditional Gaelic blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand

Canon Jane
Vice Dean and Canon Missioner