Emmaus. One of the Easter stories of the risen Jesus appearing to his beloved followers. It has the fresh breeze of a spring morning: “that very day, the first day of the week.” The day of resurrection.
Somehow, however, for these two disciples at least, their gaze was not on the risen, the new, the astounding glory of what “some women from our group” proclaimed to them. The women “were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his Body; they came back with a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.”
However, their minds were filled with other voices. Not the voices of angels, but the voices of people. The voices of people arguing about the meaning of the things that had taken place in Jerusalem that week concerning Jesus that Nazarene. The voices of people speaking to dominate a conversation, voices of power, of fear, of skepticism.
In these two disciples at least, their memories were trying to figure out what had happened to this leader whom they had followed in earlier days of so much promise and hope.
Their gaze was now filled with nothingness and confusion. Their eyes “downcast.” They were “prevented from recognizing” the Lord.
What stories are you telling and retelling and rehearsing yet again? Over what situation in your life is your gaze “downcast”? What can you never forgive for entering into your life?
Jesus wants to take you where you cannot bring yourself on your own terms.
Jesus wants to free you from those conversations that trap you in complaint and criticism and certainty.
Jesus is dying to be your conversation partner.
Jesus wants to set your inner being on fire, that you may run with joy to tell others that you too have seen the Lord. Yes. You. Today. Now.
Jesus wants to share with you his secret. He wants to flood your consciousness with his Father. His Father’s presence. His love. His providence. His power. His overwhelming closeness that encompasses us in every detail of our life. At any moment in Jesus life, he was conscious of his Father’s desires for him and his will for his life.
On the road to Emmaus, Jesus told these two apostles that there was a plan. Beginning from Moses and all the prophets he opened their eyes to how they all referred to him. It was a plan of love for them. He revealed to them a plan that Jesus carried out with immense trust in his Father, ultimately breathing forth his spirit into his Father’s hands.
There are many things about which we disagree these days. We see unthinking online mobs attack people, reducing a human being down to one idea they have had, one deed they have done (or neglected), one word they have said. We may have joined in, taking sides as we listen to the news, or in conversations with colleagues and friends. Prizing being right, being first, being on the right team. In the end, it’s only what we’ve figured out on our own terms, through our own interpretation of events.
Jesus is showing us today that we need to walk with him in order to understand his interpretation of events. To see how this one detail of human history fits into the whole. To reverence how all of human history is part of God’s salvation history that is unfolding and can never be stopped.
This Easter week, Jesus shows us the real words of power, the deeds of authentic greatness, the meaning that gives true value to life. Only if we live as a child of the Father will we know the fullness of what is true, what is good, what is life.
Walk away from your Calvarys if you must, but walk away with Jesus at your side. Listen to him along the way, and meet him in the “breaking of the bread.”
Photo Credit: Wikimedia: Fritz von Uhde – Der Gang nach Emmaus (1891)