The deep sadness that was faced by disciples of Jesus still reeling from the events of the previous three days, and an unbelievable story that related that Jesus was alive. It would be clear to see that they were overcome with sadness; next, loss; and finally disappointment. Oh, how we hoped that Jesus would be the one who would redeem God’s people. But death obliterated the hope.
The conversations that took place on the road and in the home of Cleopas were the expounding of all the scriptures of prophecy that they had hoped for.
The revealing of who this stranger was in the breaking of the bread and the urgency for these two disciples to return, with haste, to tell the others “locked in an upper room” that they, too had seen the Christ, and he was, indeed, risen!
Amen, and amen.
With these three parts we can begin to see what Christian worship celebrates when Followers of the Way gather for worship each Lord’s Day. As we celebrate the Resurrection and “Little Easters” each Sunday, we gather and move through the events that are shaping us, joys and sorrows. We move to the hearing of the Word about Him who was to come in the Name of the Lord. And we find in the meal of Holy Communion that Christ is revealed to us as our LORD and Savior. The story of Emmaus becomes the pattern of our worship each LORD’s day.
What happens in our worship centers and sanctuaries is meant to help us take what we have heard and believe out into a world that does not always hear and believe. Many of the people of the world, today, look at Christianity as something that has lost its ZIP and ZING because we are unlike the disciples in the “locked upper room” or on the Road to Emmaus. We know how the story ends, before the Easter season even begins, and those people have no emotional investment in the story unlike those experiencing sadness, loss and disappointment. It is boring because we are not there on the road with the feelings and pain of the disciples. We need to find ways to refresh the Resurrection and experience the “breaking of the bread.”
And I think this happens best for us when we begin to make a distinction between “telling others about Jesus” and “revealing Jesus to others.” It is more than reciting the story. It is interacting with people where they are in need, rather than a nice talk presented about Jesus. We must move from “talking the talk” to “walking the walk” to use a phrase from at least the 1970s. Our churches must focus on “outreach” to the marginalized. Our faith must be evident in our actions! Then we will become relevant to those who would benefit from church involvement and church life.