Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Emmaus

The Road to Emmaus
Daniel Bonnell

"On the Road to Emmaus that very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. […] And He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (from Luke 24:13-26)

“But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him.” (Luke 24:15) A passive voice in the Greek generally means it's an act of God. That is, Jesus Himself kept the disciples' eyes from recognizing Him for His own purpose until the time was divinely right. Sometimes, my pain is so severe, it's all I can see. I live (or don't) according to it. I define myself by it. Who am I? A chronic pain sufferer. A victim of chronic illness. Sedated, fatigued, and confined. Who are you? Lucky, that's who you are, because you're not me.

Foolish and slow of heart... that's me. Yes, I suffer every day. Yes, I'm in more pain than a lot of people I know, and in less pain than others. Yes, my life is harder than I think it should be, but Christ died and rose for me. He finished the fight. He's walking alongside me, newly resurrected in His glory, watching me in some awe of my failure to understand all that has been shown to me, keeping Himself strategically unrecognizable amid this sadness and suffering that doesn't even begin to compare to the joy of what He's done.

Christ knows I (by myself) can't believe what I see: that I am saved and sick all at once, that the Christ should lose to be victorious. He doesn't shout, “COME ON! WHAT, ARE YOU BLIND?!” How patiently He teaches me. How slowly He explains the Scriptures to me, a little bit each Sunday as we walk along this sad and lonely road together. My pain, my illness, my suffering, my agony, my sadness is my Emmaus that leads to Christ's sacrifice. 

Whatever road you're on, so long as that road leads to church—Word and Sacrament just like the disciples' road did—when the time is right, your eyes will be opened, too, just like the disciples' eyes were (Luke 24:27-31). Who am I? Oh, yeah, I see it now. I'm a child of God, redeemed by Christ through baptism. But that's not nearly so important as the answer to the question, “Who is He?”

Suggested verse to repeat if it's a difficult day is from Psalm 116:7a
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
“Return, O my soul, -------> 5 count inhale
to your rest.” -------> 5 count exhale

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