Reflection on the Gospel reading: Luke 24: 13-35 – Rev. Alison Westervelt
Well, it has been 7 weeks since we were told we could not meet for worship. It may be a little while until we are able to do so again. And while we all understand the necessity for this it is very hard. For some it is frightening., for some annoying and for many it leaves us with a terrible feeling of isolation and loneliness, even incompleteness.
Usually, life is ordinary and sometimes it is painful. But that is when we do the most learning and growing. That is when we have the greatest opportunity to encounter the risen Jesus . . . if we have eyes to see.
After the crucifixion Jesus’ disciples were huddled together, hidden in a room, afraid that a knock would come at the door with Roman soldiers ready to arrest them. They had no idea what was going to happen next and I am sure they argued about what their next step should be.
As the sun rose on Sunday morning and the Passover feast came to an end, two others of Jesus’s followers, disillusioned and resolving to leave their foolish dreams in Jerusalem, left for home. The dejected pair began the seven-mile walk to Emmaus even as rumors of resurrection circulated among the ranks of Jesus’s disciples.
Luke describes the disciples’ conversation as bantering ideas back and forth with great emotion in a shared search for answers. The disillusioned followers desperately wanted to know why their expectations of the Messiah had come to such a tragic end.
And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” (Luke 24:14-17)
As Luke tells the story of the two despondent disciples on the road to Emmaus, we cannot help but identify with their pain. We, too, are pilgrims on a journey through life. We, too, become overwhelmed and embattled over life’s circumstances from time to time. We, too, can lose heart when our expectations come to an end. But remember, every trial is an opportunity to discover what God wants us to see.
Circumstances, especially those involving loss, are usually perceived as difficult because reality does not mesh with our expectations. The two followers on the road to Emmaus undoubtedly felt utterly alone as they mourned the death of their dreams. During their suffering, God was indeed nearby, as He is nearby to you and to me. Like the two on the road to Emmaus, we do not travel alone. God is with us.
You have created a beautiful world for us to live in. You have given us community, friendships and people who care. Thank you.
At this time, when it is safer for us to stay apart due to this Covid-19 coronavirus, remind us that we are not alone. Help us to find ways to reach out to others, easing their burden whenever and wherever possible. Keep us in good health and good humour so that we might not feed into the fear that can so easily grow at this time. Help us, through our interactions with others, and our study of you, to anchor ourselves in your love and bring our hearts and minds to a place of peace.
We ask this in Jesus’ name, AMEN