Church of England Diocese of Leicester Burbage with Aston Flamville

Thought for the day - 26th April

26 Apr 2020, 11:45 a.m.

Sixth Station of the Resurrection: The Road to Emmaus

Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

All Those who believe in him shall never die. Alleluia.

Reading

A reading from the Gospel according to Luke (24.28-35)

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 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. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised him; and he vanished from their sight. 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?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Reflection or Meditation

The Church gathered together in many parts of the world today will hear this resurrection story of Jesus Christ once more. They will hear how lives are turned around, when the story of fear and disappointment is shared with a stranger on the road to Emmaus.

This is one of my favourite passages in the whole of scripture, it is so rich with meaning, theological insight and I never tire of hearing it.

Our story tells us of two people who had been with Jesus, seen and heard him do marvellous, miraculous and wonderful things, surely this was the Messiah, surely this was the Saviour they had longed for?

But now he is dead, he had been executed; He didn’t say a word, when we know that his words could unpick your soul and lift you to the highest heavens. Times were now too dangerous, time to move into the shadows and pick up the pieces of their old lives, time to go into lockdown.

My reflection today is centred around meeting and sharing your life with;

“The stranger on the road.”

The resurrection of Jesus asks as many questions as it answers, one thing I am sure of is that we as disciples need to be “On the Road” in order to have our eyes opened;

• Opened to the probing questions Jesus poses.

• Opened to his disturbing and surprising presence.

• Open to hear his voice speaking to you from strangers on the road.

As many of you know over these passed weeks in lockdown each weekday we have had a ‘Thought for the Day’ posted on our social media forums and sent out as far and wide to the people we are connected with.

I am grateful for the many contributions that I have been sent, as Editor in Chief so to speak I have slightly adapted and added a tweak here and there.

I was sent this one earlier this week. I don’t think the author had in mind the story of the road to Emmaus at the time but the resonances of God’s voice in this reflection deserve to be heard, thought about and put into action.

The thought of ‘Walking in other people’s Shoes’ is not new, in fact the proverb is as old as the hills we walk upon.

The point here is that we don’t ‘walk in others shoes’ our default is to;

‘look after ourselves,’ ‘Charity begins at home!’

Sometimes we can’t ‘walk in others shoes’ because we are too focussed on our concerns, our sorrows, our pain, our immediate situation.

Like the disciples our eyes are open but only on the next step, and that step is a step away from the situation, a footstep on the road West to Emmaus; usually out of town, out of reach, away from any connection with God, or any of his people. The thought in our mind is survival and self preservation.

Thats why the Emmaus Road story is so powerful, two people whose lives, hopes and dreams have crashed to the ground, literally running for cover, for the safety of what they know, meet the Risen Lord Jesus, on the road and he changes their lives.

Friends, friends, have you met him?

Friends, friends, do you know he is walking with you right now, in the midst of all your pain, sorrow, distress and fear?

I am greatly comforted by these words of the Apostle Paul to the Roman Christians.

Romans 8:38-39 King James Version (KJV)

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This passage, informs us of enormity of what Jesus did, it brings comfort and hope amidst the worst times in our lives.

Our ‘thought for the day’ showed us an insight into what humanity can do when we listen and walk and work together.

The Emmaus road story takes us further and restores not only our hope in humanity but shows us a loving saviour, healer and friend, and the length that Jesus will go to, to bring you home.

During this time of social isolation, lockdown, when we aren’t connected, our minds and sometimes our actions spill out, go on overdrive. The tension under the surface breakouts. Literally for most of us everything we have worked so hard and built looks like it could crumble. Our lives seem so fragile, we feel our mortality ever present.

What have we done with our lives?

What have we built?

And yet, and yet; a stranger appears in our midst and He has the power to turn our life upside down.

My prayer for us all is that we welcome this stranger in whatever guise, shape or form and allow Him to change and transform our life.

Perhaps this week you could set an extra place at your table for the stranger, placing some bread and wine there. in doing so who knows what will happen?

This week on your walk out into the highways and byways, may you bump into Jesus.

May his words soothe your soul and bring you home.

May he cause you to walk Eastward to the Son.

May you know Him in the sharing of your life, with others, just as our disciples knew Him when he broke bread in their homes.

Amen

Prayer

We praise you and we bless you, our risen Lord Jesus, King of glory,

for you are with us, even when our eyes are closed to your companionship.

Walk this day alongside the disconsolate and the despairing, open their eyes to your gentle illumination, and let their hearts burn within them at your invisible presence.

To you, Lord Jesus, walking by our side, be honour and glory, now and for ever.

All Amen.