From Pauses for Pentecost
They asked each other,
“Were not our hearts burning within us
while he talked with us on the road
and opened the scriptures to us?”
Many know this beautiful gospel scene well. Two heartbroken disciples are on their way home to Emmaus from Jerusalem. They have run out of hope. The One they thought was the Messiah has been crucified. While they walk, the risen Jesus joins them and enters into conversation with them. They invite him home, break bread with him, and they recognize him. When he vanishes from their sight, they speak excitedly about how they had felt their hearts burning within them while he spoke with them on the road. Suddenly, they have a new and hope-filled view of life.
This personal meeting with the risen Jesus is available to all who feel hopeless. He comes to each one of us through his Spirit, walks alongside us, and desires to enter into conversation with us. He wants to know about the dark thoughts and feelings in our hearts. He opens our minds to words of scripture so that they speak directly and personally to our situations. He makes himself known to us as bread is broken and wine is poured. In moments like these, our hearts also begin to burn again with new faith and hope and love.
However, none of his happens without our involvement. Like those two early disciples, our invisible companion invites us to enter into conversation, sharing with him our inner agony and anguish. We must open the doors of our lives and homes to his resurrected presence. We too are to share in the bread and wine that he offers to his gathered people. Above all, we also need to learn how to listen to his voice, especially in the Biblical story, shedding light on what we are going through and warming our hearts with his words of truth and new perspectives.
Easter people know that Jesus is alive, he lives beyond crucifixion, and through his Spirit he offers us in our hopelessness the gift of his healing presence and word. May our eyes also be opened to recognize Jesus in our midst so that our hearts may burn within us!
Take a short walk today. Keep the Emmaus story in your mind. Ask the risen Christ to be your companion. As you stroll along your own Emmaus Road, bring a problem that you are facing to him. Think of your favorite scripture story and let it confront what you are going through. Listen to what the Spirit may be saying to you.