LISTEN: Brandon Heath, "Your Love" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Vbg2dpX-EY
For most of us, Easter is long gone. Summer's beckoning, and vacation plans are in the works. Yet the church insists we remain in the season of Easter several more weeks, until June 8 (the feast of Pentecost). We are called to reflect on the Risen Jesus and the process of resurrection in our own lives. So we are invited to reflect and connect to the stories of Scripture.
One of the most amazing Easter stories is the walk to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). This is the only time Emmaus is mentioned in the bible. We are introduced to an unknown disciple, Cleopas and his unnamed companion, some think may be his wife. Jesus appears to them at the start of the seven mile journey, but he is not recognized. They start chatting, there are questions, and soon they're talking about Jesus, and the "stranger" is opening their eyes to the scriptures about the messiah. For hours they talk. Finally when they hit Emmaus they invite Jesus in for a meal; Jesus blesses and breaks the bread -- and suddenly their eyes are opened -- it is the Lord! At that moment Jesus vanishes. A journey that began with sadness and fear ends with joy.
The Emmaus Journey is a part of our spiritual lives. In times of sadness or fear, it is difficult to recognize that Jesus is walking with us. Life throws us questions that sometimes we are too preoccupied to hear. "What are you talking about?" "What things are happening?" It is in the walking that the issues come out, everything starts to get sorted, the story begins to make sense.
When I was in seminary, I was blessed to have Dr. Kosuke Koyama, a Japanese theologian, as a teacher (Dr. Koyama also preached at my ordination service, a memory I will always treasure). One concept Dr. Koyama taught frequently about was "the three-mile-an-hour God." Humans naturally walk on average three miles an hour. So that is the pace God has adapted in his journey with us. Not faster not slower. It's the pace of where our brain in turn is able to slow down, push aside distractions and begin to focus, to connect, to relate. It's the time needed for a stranger to become friend. For sadness to open to joy. For eyes to help the heart to open. Journey becomes sacrament as the small company arrives to Emmaus and Jesus is recognized in the breaking of the bread.
The Emmaus journey is a precious gift of Easter. What sadness lingers in your heart? What is unresolved?
Engage in the spirituality of walking. Let the walk inform the talk. Let the experience of walking without answers guide you. It is for a good reasons early Christians called their faith "The Way." Named for Jesus, ("The Way, the Truth and the Life" John 14:6), it reminds us life is journey, faith is journey, and the Risen Lord is there, walking next to us, each step of the way.
In the beauty of Spring, walk. If Walking is impossible, "walk" on the interior. Walk with the questions, the sadness, the stories, the hopes and dreams. Emmaus is there, waiting for you. And then, hearts filled, return filled with good news to share.
Prayer: "Jesus, walk with me as I walk this way. Lead me to bigger picture of my life -- help me find your love as I seek the purpose and journey of my life."