By Bishop Sarah
Welcome to our Eastertide Reflection for this second Sunday after Easter.
The Road to Emmaus – Luke 24: 13-35
My attention was caught this week by a story on the BBC website entitled ‘ Nobody told us about the coronavirus pandemic’ . Imagine someone existing who doesn’t about the virus! It boggles the mind! Apparently, Elena Manighetti and Ryan Osbourne had been 25 days at sea with limited communication when they arrived at a Caribbean Island to discover that all the boarders were closed to them and only when they’ve managed to find a 4g signal in the middle of the ocean spot that they grasped the enormity of the changes the virus had sparked. It is hard to imagine what it must have been like for Elena and Ryan to see the world so differently suddenly.
I was reminded of the incredulity of the Cleopas on the Emmaus Road, when the stranger, who we know is Jesus, comes alongside asks what they’re talking about; what else is there to talk about except Jesus of Nazareth?
‘ Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days’
How ironic can you get – the stranger is the only person who knows exactly what has been happening in these days. Yet what I love is that Jesus just says ‘What things’ inviting Cleopas and the other disciples – to tell him their story, as they’ve experienced it. As they tell it they revealed that its not all is bleak, there are rumours of hope, but they can’t see it. Jesus the patiently starts at the beginning with Moses and the prophets and explains it all, helping them to see the events they’ve been part of from his point of view. Only after listening to them does he take the pieces of their lives and re-ordered them into a true picture with him at the centre.
It seems to me that this is the invitation of this Eastertide, an invitation to tell Jesus about the events of our lives in the midst of Corvid 19 time, warts and all, and give him space and time to enable us to see the pieces reworked. All the pieces of our lives are still there, even the hard and bitter ones about death and suffering but they are re-ordered with the Risen Lord at the Centre. The burning of the disciple’s hearts is nothing less than death’s cold ashes being woken into the blazing fire of love.
But there is one more step on that journey needed and that is the disciples act of hospitality, inviting Jesus in for more, ‘they urged him strongly , ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over’ , ‘So he went in to stay, to abide with them’ and the rest is now history and lies at the heart of our worship.
In this time of lockdown, this season of your journey, are you telling Jesus your story, ‘warts and all’ – he’s listening and is ready to help you see with his eyes all that is happening; how can you invite Jesus to dwell with you – he will come and abide with you; Can you sense your heart burning within you – for he is alongside you by his Spirit. And finally who is the friend, the other disciples, who is with you – for we are never alone.