Meeting Jesus Along the Road
Beloved in Christ,
Our gospel lesson from this past Sunday, which tells the story of two disciples meeting Jesus along the road to Emmaus in Luke 24, is no doubt one of the richest and most well known in all of scripture. On the evening of Easter Sunday, two disciples are leaving Jerusalem. All their hopes were crushed as they watched Jesus' life and ministry end in a gruesome crucifixion. They are carrying grief's immense weight together, helping one another along as best as they can. The risen Jesus comes and walks beside them, visits with them, and even teaches a little impromptu roadside Bible study, explaining how the scriptures have pointed to all of it, but, mysteriously, they are prevented from recognizing him. It's only over dinner, when they break bread together, that they see him, and know the full joy of Easter's good news.
The move from devastation to hope does not happen through Jesus' teaching. They aren't talked into it by logic. It doesn't happen through some big, flashy sign of power or strength. The move from devastation to hope, from the depths of sorrow to the heights of joy, only happens when they are fully engaged in the simplest act of love, together. For the two disciples on the day of Easter, joy surprises them in the most ordinary act of sharing our basic need for food.
Easter is not a doctrine that we understand with our brains. It's not a proposition we either buy or don't. Easter is a mystery that we catch, and are caught by, when we are fully present to God's big love that shows up in every small moment.
What the world needs from us, beloved, is not for us to be brilliant. It doesn't need us to be interesting or entertaining. What the world needs is for our lives to exude the love of God and the joy of Easter. We are not called to build successful programs, or have large, wealthy churches. We are called to be holy, to live in a way that God's love, and God's power over death, is revealed every time we gather, delight in one another, and break bread.
Wherever you are, whatever you are carrying today, Jesus is walking right beside you, waiting to sit with you, host you, love you, and set you free--free for love, free to make peace, free to light the whole world up with joy.
Grace and peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya