April 26, 2017
By Frank Basler.
Scripture: Luke 24: 13-35 (CEB)
On that same day, two disciples were traveling to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. While they were discussing these things, Jesus himself arrived and joined them on their journey. They were prevented from recognizing him.
He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?” They stopped, their faces downcast.
The one named Cleopas replied, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who is unaware of the things that have taken place there over the last few days?”
He said to them, “What things?”
They said to him, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth. Because of his powerful deeds and words, he was recognized by God and all the people as a prophet. But our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the one who would redeem Israel. All these things happened three days ago. But there’s more: Some women from our group have left us stunned. They went to the tomb early this morning and didn’t find his body. They came to us saying that they had even seen a vision of angels who told them he is alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women said. They didn’t see him.”
Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! Your dull minds keep you from believing all that the prophets talked about. Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then he interpreted for them the things written about himself in all the scriptures, starting with Moses and going through all the Prophets.
When they came to Emmaus, he acted as if he was going on ahead. But they urged him, saying, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?”
They got up right then and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying to each other, “The Lord really has risen! He appeared to Simon!” Then the two disciples described what had happened along the road and how Jesus was made known to them as he broke the bread.
Imagine you and a friend were in deep in conversation and Jesus joined you. How would your life be changed when you discovered the risen Christ had been part of your dialogue, illuminating and deepening it? Would your heart be on fire? Would you do almost anything for beloved members of your congregation to have a similar experience? Most likely, you and they already have!
Reuel Howe in his The Miracle of Dialogue
says, “…dialogue brings us face to face with truth in a relationship of love…. This kind of meeting between man and man cannot occur without an implicit meeting between man and God. To really see another is to see the Other, and to really love another is to love the Other….
Think of a similar conversation in which you felt deeply understood and loved. Did you experience your heart warming – perhaps a little tingle down your neck? Recall a conversation in your study or over coffee with a parishioner in which you hope she or he felt the same way.
Howe goes on to say (on the first page of chapter 7), “A spirit pervades and directs the ‘conversation.’” I am confidant you and members of your congregation/community have had experiences of such enriching, enlivening, sprit-filled talks.
What may have been missing is the recognition that Christ was there. The risen Christ is in each of us. To recognize this – to truly to take in the significance that Christ is a full participant in conversations when each of us has been willing to be vulnerable with each other – that recognition can propel us on our spiritual journeys, and power us to testify to our faith communities, as it did Cleopas and his friend when they rejoined the eleven and their companions.
Holy One, help us comprehend that Christ is manifestly present in our deepest conversations. May we be filled with awe as we recognize and affirm the presence of Christ’s Spirit. Amen
Rev. Frank Basler is Term Minister of Ridgebury Congregational Church in Ridgefield. He is a “dialogue partner” with clergy and facilitates two communities of practice for senior ministers.
April 26, 2017