Last week, as Louise and I were walking to our car in a Short Pump parking lot, we encountered a good friend who was in her car, preparing to exit the lot. Actually, I was looking into this person’s car and wondering why she was slowing down and waving at us. I continued to stand there perplexed until she said, “Hi there – it’s [name withheld due to my incredible embarrassment]!” Naturally, I had not made an immediate connection because we were outside of our usual context. One of our previous contexts was a shared meal at a friend’s house. The other was church.
Let’s move to this Sunday’s gospel lesson, Luke 24:13-31, which will be sung by soprano, Victoria Jackson (Jaromir Weinberger’s beautiful and expressive cantata, “The Way to Emmaus”). There were two disciples walking from towards Emmaus – seven or so miles from Jerusalem – during the evening of Christ’s resurrection. They encountered a stranger along their walk, and they chatted with him about the event of the day, not realizing who this stranger is. They managed to reach the village, continuing to discuss the crucifixion, and did not realize that this was Jesus among them until the moment he broke the bread at supper. It was sudden, and it was moving. “Their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” Their fear and disbelief dissolved. At the meal, and speaking of God’s realm, he was now in context.
If I had seen my parking lot acquaintance a bit more outside of church and a dinner party, I might have been able to recognize her more quickly. Perhaps the more time we spend trying to know Jesus, the sooner we will recognize him when we have then next, more personal, encounter.
Join us for worship and hear this inspiring gospel passage as Victoria Jackson sings Weinberger’s poignant setting of this eye-opening story – “The Way to Emmaus.”
Written by Bob Gallagher