Rarely does the gospel tell us what to do or believe. Rarely does it give us a straight answer. And today’s gospel (Luke 24:13-35), the road to Emmaus story, is no different. It doesn’t give us answers. It raises questions and invites reflection. It’s a map by which we orient and find ourselves. It reveals intersections of Jesus’ life and our lives. It begs to be recognized as a story about our lives, and it is a story with which we are familiar. It is a story of shattering and restoration.
If your life has ever been shattered then this is your story. If your life has ever been restored then this is your story. And if you’ve ever been in that in between place, between shattering and restoration, then this is your story.
I wonder, one week after Easter, what has Christ’s resurrection done for us? Is your life different? Do you see and engage the world in new ways? What difference has the empty tomb made in your life over the last week? When I look at my life it looks a whole like it did last Sunday, the week before, and the week before that. And when I look at the world it looks pretty much the same as before.
I sometimes wonder if we have for so long so over-emphasized the uniqueness of Jesus’ resurrection that we have either forgotten or are unable to believe that there is only life. I wonder if we make such a big deal out of Easter Sunday that we are no longer able to see that everyday life holds the miracle of resurrection. I wonder if we miss the resurrected life that is ours because we are always looking and waiting for Jesus’ resurrection.
What is your story of suffering and loss? When was a time you thought your heart couldn’t break anymore than it already had? Who are the loved ones you’ve lost? What is the pain that never goes away? When has your world come to an end? When have you cried in the daytime, but had no answer from God, or by night as well but found no rest (Psalm 22:2)? What suffering do you bring today?
Think about a time when you gathered around the table in remembrance. Where was the table? Who was there? Who wasn’t there? What was the conversation about? What was your remembrance as you gathered around that table?
Have you ever thought of Jesus’ Palm Sunday procession as a protest march? What if that’s what it really is? What if it is a resistance movement? What if it is highlighting the struggle that takes place in every human heart – the will to power or the will to life? I’ve come to believe that that’s exactly what is happening today. Palm Sunday, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, sets up a confrontation and it has the whole city in turmoil.
What is the valley that cuts through center of your life? What questions did you ask when the Lazarus of your life died? What questions are you asking today?