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From our Pastor

Interestingly in the story of Cleopas and his companion are heading for a town called Emmaus. I find this interesting because today we have no idea where this town was exactly. As I look into the archeological studies of Emmaus there are several places that historians have pointed to for a possible site but there is always something that doesn’t quite fit. Sometimes it’s the fact that they site they find is anywhere from 20-40 miles from Jerusalem which challenges our scripture reading quite a bit. So, did the walkers really know where they were headed? I would assume they knew even if we can’t find it today. Regardless of that, the point is they were walking blindly into a future that puzzled and terrified them.

The previous week was so packed with events that they are simply left numb but the speed in which it all happened. They were constantly trying to play catch up and even when they thought they had a grasp on what was happening something new came up that threw them off balance. Sometimes it was ecstatic, like Jesus riding the donkey into Jerusalem, and they felt on top of the world and exited over what they thought would be the conclusion of the day. Or, sometime it was confusing, like Jesus predicting the betrayal and arrest. And it was also horrifying, like watching Jesus dying on the cross. So many things, so many questions, so much loss that when the news then comes of resurrection it simply leaves them empty and even more confused. This was not the way they thought it should work out. In fact, they were so focused on their disillusionment they couldn’t recognize Jesus as he came to walk with them.

How like Jesus to first of all find the men in this sense of loss meandering around the countryside looking for a place to find—exactly what they did not know. When we are at such a loss of direction and don’t know how to find Christ’s grace and love in the situations we are in, that’s often when Jesus finds us. Maybe it’s in the kind words of a friend. Perhaps in our prayers we begin to feel the peace that God is indeed with us. It comes in its own time and its own way and suddenly God is just there.

Even as Jesus walks with the disciples on the road they can’t see him. We wonder how they could not recognize him. How could they not know it was Jesus? Even when we are surrounded by God’s grace we often fail to recognize its existence and still walk in a daze of unbelief. Cleopas and friend find it shocking that this ‘stranger’ has no idea what they have been going through over the last days.

They are so preoccupied with their sorrow and disillusionment that it is all they can focus on. At that point Jesus steps in and begins to open their minds to understand God a little better; to hear the words of scripture and little clearer; and in the end to finally open their eyes to the truth that is right before them.

It is wondrous that they finally are able to see who it is that has guided them on this stage of their journey by the simple act of breaking the bread. In this common action which they surely had seen Jesus do countless times they finally experienced a resurrection of faith. This renewed faith is far more powerful than they had known before. This renewed faith now filled their hearts with joy and wonder again. This renewed faith encourages and builds the lives so strongly that we still have times we experience it today. AND this renewed faith will carry us on into whatever events and/or upheavals we face as we continue to proclaim, “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!”
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Paul

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