In Luke 24:13-35, we read about two disciples who are traveling from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus. They are leaving Jerusalem, a place filled with good and bad memories of their time spent following Jesus. They reveled at the crowd’s jubilant welcome of Jesus when he entered the city riding on a donkey. They watched in amazement as he drove the vendors out of the Temple. They listened intently as he taught in the Temple. They celebrated the Passover meal with him. They waited on the Mount of Olives while Jesus withdrew to pray. They saw the crowd come and arrest him. They were there when he was crucified. They watched him die on the cross and their dreams and hopes die with him.
Cleopas and his companion decide to travel to Emmaus. We can only speculate about the reason for their decision. But we can identify with them. Haven’t we also, at some time in our lives, wanted to leave behind painful memories, unpleasant experiences, hurt feelings, deep disappointments, and lost dreams? What do we do? Where do we go? Where is our Emmaus?
Theologian Frederick Buechner, in his book The Magnificent Defeat, writes that Emmaus may even be “going to church on Sunday” (pg. 85). Whether we are walking or worshipping, may we remember that it is during those everyday activities that God comes to us. May our hearts and minds be open so we will recognize those sacred moments of our lives. May we respond to those miraculous experiences as enthusiastically as the disciples who travelled to Emmaus.
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. – Luke 24:30-35