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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Scripture 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)

Easter seems like an ending. It’s the end of Lent and the end of Holy Week. On the day after Easter, we always close the church building so the staff can get some rest. Apparently the disciples had the same idea. After Easter morning, two of them took off along the road, leaving Jerusalem for a place called Emmaus. Jesus, risen from the tomb, meets them on the way. “It’s all over,” they say—not recognizing who they are talking to. “We hoped he would be the one to redeem Israel, but it was not to be.” “Don’t you understand,” Jesus answers. “Today is not the end. Today is a beginning.”

It is a common mistake we make, thinking that an end is just an end, thinking that things are over simply because they are different than they once were. The lesson of Emmaus is: Don’t close the book! Don’t close the church on Easter Monday without asking, “What’s next?” 

We’ll be singing Easter hymns in church all the way to Pentecost. Lent is past and gone, yes, but don’t forget to spend some time asking, “What’s next?”

God of new life and new beginnings, “What’s next for me?” Amen.

Written by Adam H. Fronczek, Associate Pastor for Adult Education and Worship

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