28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!”
Just a few years ago, in the height of the shutdown during the pandemic, wasn’t it good to get outside and simply walk? Cleared our minds, got some sun, maybe even waved at a safe distance to neighbors? Walking still has been important to me. I try to get my steps in every day. Running helps, but, I love slowing down and simply walking and taking inventory of my life within and around.
Our lectionary passages finds two of Jesus’ disciples walking on the road to Emmaus. We can relate to them. They want to get out, they need to get out. They have been isolated, disrupted, and their expectations crushed. They need to work it out and were walking to a destination.
This passage is particularly helpful for us today. Doesn’t it seem like we are in a “liminal space”. Liminal simply means being in a transitional space, one boundary has been cross and then entering into a new one. We have been disrupted, some more than others love these past few years. Yet, God has been leading us to this moment. We may be disoriented, we may feel lost, we may want to go back to “normal”, but then we realize that we cannot. We have crossed a threshold that was handed to us. We must grow and move towards a new “normal”, and that new normal has to be good for everyone in some way.
In this moment, I am so grateful to have our church as “walking partners”. We are having some amazing conversations as we continue to move towards a liminal space.
Along comes another walking partner in our story. At first the disciples don’t recognize him, but as they share, and as Jesus moves into sharing a meal with them, it dawns upon them, this is Jesus and they are filled with emotion.
Friends, as we walk together, aren’t we often surprised that as we sit, as we listen, as we share life together, slowly, but then suredly, along the way, we see Jesus!
I believe that in this season, we have the opportunity to “see” one another, and in the process, see God in each other.
In our story, Jesus goes on to give them communion.
It’s hard to be at communion with everyone, to live in that recognition that we are connected. Communion seems to not be the practice when we look at events in the world around us. As I watched events unfold this past week and the divisiveness, I wonder if we can ever live in unity.
Yet, we are called to remember that we are created for connection. I am amazed at folks like Martin Luther King who were able to work towards justice while rejecting violence and seeking peace.
We also experience a lack of connectedness or communion with our deepest selves. We live in a state of image that we’ve created of ourselves and try to hide the hard things that we don’t want to see or others to see. That can lead to a discontent within ourselves. Sometimes that discontent can lead us towards growth if handled in loving community with God and others. But, oftentimes that discontent left on its own leads us to despair.
I believe that our congregation has been towards communion…deeper connections that are burning within our hearts. We may not be able to control what others do to us or to others or the circumstances around us, but we can live in Christ and strive to respond to others as Jesus would. We are finding deeper places within our hearts that moves us towards curiosity and momentum towards a faith that will take us forward.
After Jesus’ death and resurrection he appears to the frightened, lonely, desperate, insecure, and hopeless disciples, along the road, and in their hiding places. They have just seen Jesus crucified, their hopes are dashed, their lives are threatened and they have locked themselves up in a room.
Jesus came to the disciples on that road later and he comes to us today, having overcome everything, even death. We approach this new season of life with expectation, or a hope for peace within ourselves, others, with God, and in the world. He has made everything new and desires for us to live in unity, not conformity or an image, but in deeper relationships that are real, authentic. Our hearts turn towards God and one another, and we begin to notice that our hearts beat as one. As the church, the Body of Christ, Christ lives in us and we have the power to live in peace. Friends, may we live in the one communion and may we allow our hearts to be open once again to one another and new possibilities. And may we live in Christ and abide in Christ as Christ lives in us.