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Luke 24:13-35 The Walk to Emmaus Reflection
This is one of my favourite scripture passages, it’s so beautiful and dramatic, and there is really great imagery in it that we can pull into our own lives. With the 50 Words of Easter that we have been using, the word pulled out today is “Talk” and this appears at the beginning of the scripture passage, when the disciples are talking together before Jesus joins them, and then, at the end of the passage, after they recognize Jesus, and then he vanishes. “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?””
Even before they had that flash of recognition when he broke the bread, there was something in the way Jesus, appearing as a stranger to them, talked to them on the road, that made their hearts burn, that made them feel closer to God’s presence.
I wonder do we realize the power that words can have? There is the old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” But I think most of us know that that is completely untrue. Words can hurt us-deeply. So then, words can also heal us, can make our hearts burn with the fire of God’s love.
I think that is what happened on that road to Emmaus. The disciples were distraught when the stranger came upon them, they were mourning Jesus’ death, but also mourning the loss of all that they had believed and hoped about Jesus and his words and deeds, and what they could do in following Jesus. But when this stranger talked to them, he began their healing. I think that is why, at the end of the road, they still acted like followers of Jesus, they welcomed this stranger into their home, modeling Jesus’ own love and compassion.
The words of this stranger burned in their hearts, encouraging them into continuing to follow Jesus’ Way, even though they still hadn’t recognized him as being risen.
So what can we take from this message? I know that these are days when we feel a lot has been taken from us, our ability to gather, to serve and work in the ways we are used to. And many of us are feeling a lot like those disciples- distraught, overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted. But let us remember the connections we can still make.
We can still talk – at a distance, through windows, over the phone, over email, over video chat. And we can use our words, not to hurt, but to heal. We can remind ourselves of the ways God has worked and is still working within this world. We can encourage one another and lift up those who are feeling down. And maybe, we cause someone’ heart to burn with the love of God, maybe even our own heart, so much that we, like those disciples, are inspired, even in the midst of loss, into following Jesus’s Way anew, reaching out in new ways with Jesus’ love and compassion. May it be so for us, along this road we are on. Amen.
Hymn: The Spring Has Come
Performed by Stephen Cocks
The spring has come, let all the church be part of it!
The world has changed, and God is at the heart of it!
New light, new day, new colour after winter grey.
New light, new day, the spring has come, let all the church be part of it!
The sun is warm, let all God's children play in it!
The world expands, let's spread the Gospel way in it!
New leaf, new thrust, new greening for the love of Christ.
New leaf, new thrust, the sun is warm, let all God's children play in it!
The spring has come, new people are the flowers of it.
Through wind and rain, new life is in the showers of it.
New bud, new shoot, new hope will bear the Spirit's fruit.
New bud, new shoot, the spring has come, new people are the flowers of it!
Anthem: I Can See
Please enjoy this performance of Alessandra Sorace singing I Can See (On The Road to Emmaus) by Gloria Gaither & David Meece.
Hymn: Emmaus Bound on Easter Day
Performed by Stephen Cocks
Emmaus bound on Easter Day,
Two travelers walked along the way.
They'd once had hope, but hope had died
When you, O Lord, were crucified.
When you appeared beside the two,
They could not see that it was you;
But as they talked and shared their pain,
You gave them hope and joy again.
For as you spoke to them God's word,
Explaining all they'd seen and heard,
They understood what God had done
And that a new day had begun.
They shared their home; you broke the bread.
They saw you, risen from the dead!
That moment's grace helped them to see
The gift of God's eternity.
In scripture and at table, too,
O Risen Lord, may we know you.
And may your presence give us grace
To share God's love in every place.
Benediction: May the Christ Who Walks on Wounded Feet
Performed by Stephen Cocks
"The Spring Has Come". Words: Carolyn Winfrey Gillette 2009; copyright 2009 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved. Music: VU #372 Though I May Speak; Traditional English Melody, adapt. Hal H. Hopson 1972; copyright 1972 Hope Publishing Co. Permission to podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE with license #A-725403.
"Emmaus Bound on Easter Day". Tune: Traditional English Melody Text: Copyright © 2009 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Moderator Richard Bott reflects on the role of doubt in our faith and how it can lead us to experience the good news for ourselves.
Click here to view Richard's worship on the United Church of Canada's blog.