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Easter Monday, April 1, 2013
Today’s Reading | Luke 24:13–35
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. (NRSV)
Are you familiar with these words: “When our risen Lord was at the table with his disciples, he took bread and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and their eyes were open and they recognized him”? These words are often part of the invitation that begins the Lord’s Supper, and they’re based on today’s scripture passage. It’s a great story, but I’m not always sure people “recognize” the reference when they hear it. So for starters (no judging here, I promise), if you’re in the habit of reading these devotions without reading the scripture, first go back and read the scripture. By the way, start at the beginning of Luke 24—it will make more sense.
Now, ask yourself a couple of questions:
1. The disciples were “talking with each other about all these things that had happened.” Have you ever tried talking about the meaning of Easter with anyone? Try it. What does Easter mean to you? If you’ve never tried to articulate it, find a friend today and give it a try.
2. Have you ever “recognized” something to which you had previously been blind? What was it? What did you learn? How can you be more attentive in the future?
Next time one of the clergy stands at the Lord’s Table and reminds you of this story, take time as you receive Communion to remember your answers to these questions. What does it mean that Christ rose from the dead for us? What does it mean to remember at the Lord’s Table that resurrection? How can that remembrance help you to “recognize” God’s gifts to us each and every day?
God, help me to remember that in the resurrection you have defeated sin and even death so that I might find forgiveness and new life. Help me to recognize your goodness toward me and be thankful. Amen.
Written by Adam H. Fronczek, Associate Pastor for Adult Education and Worship
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