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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, April 21, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | Luke 24:13–27             

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. (NRSV)

This story doesn’t happen if disciples don’t walk and talk together. All of the action in this Luke-specific episode is predicated upon two disciples deciding to go to a village seven clicks from Jerusalem. Why? Are they from there? Luke doesn’t say. We don’t know. Neither do we know where Emmaus actually is; this is the only mention of it in all of the New Testament, and scholars aren’t clear where it actually is.

Why these two were going to Emmaus and where Emmaus actually is do not matter as much as the simple fact that it’s out there, and, on a day of unparalleled and unimagined grief and loss and disillusionment, they are going. They are walking it out.

This story reminds me of the oft-repeated Latin phrase “Solvitur ambulando,” which means “It is solved by walking.” Maybe also because I started rereading the Lord of the Rings trilogy with my daughter—which is a “vigorous” walking tale—my ears are pricked up at all of the “going” and “talking” and “discussing” going on before the disciples ever encounter Jesus. It seems like there’s some walking to be done, both on Jesus’ part and ours.

Wanna go for a walk?

Walk with us, Jesus, though we don’t recognize you and are slow to believe. Send us out onto the road with our questions to see whom we meet. Reveal yourself to us in your time and with great joy. Amen.

Written by Rocky Supinger, Associate Pastor for Youth

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