I open this Easter post with a scripture that never fails to make me weep – not in sadness, but in wonder and overwhelming joy. This particular lesson was one of my father’s particular favorites, which likely adds to my joyful tears. Whenever I read it, I hear his voice in my head. Many of us experience times and events that are so imprinted in our mind that they are truly unforgettable. Either my father shared this only with me, or the memories of my brothers are less vivid. They have scant, if any, remembrance of this as among my Daddy’s many favored and oft-studied scripture, even though they are also familiar with the scriptures. But as for me, the words of Luke 24:13-25 spark and crackle like a mighty flame, and I never fail to be moved, Please take the time to read this scripture, if you are not familiar with it, or would like a reminder. I will not print it within this post, but I will reproduce three versions of it on a separate page that you can link to from a “Road to Emmaus” page near the header of this, the “Home” page. The final lines of verse 35, in each of the disparate versions turn out to one almost identical. This is something I realized recently, though I know I am not the first or only one to notice, Perhaps it’s because St, Luke write the original because the event was so patently clear, and unambiguous, that there was no other way to put it! First thing I think of as I read about Cleopas and the other on the walk is the utter sadness in which they carried themselves along. The very hope, not just of their own lives, but of the entire world; the very One who was to deliver them from oppression not only of the Romans, but of their own inner thoughts; their beloved friend who walked and talked with them for three years, giving of himself to all who needed him; this Son of God and Son of Man, who would surely live forever–this their Messiah, love incarnate, was dead, Crucified so cruelly and ignominiously upon a wooden cross, with nails in hands and feet. The more they thought and spoke of it, the more they wanted to escape their hopes and dreams. But a man joined them on that road – it was about a seven mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus – who was clueless to all the activity of that Passover weekend. They couldn’t believe how anyone could be so ignorant. They may even have felt insulted that something that grieved them so gave this stranger no pause. And then it happened. What even to this day must be the greatest, clearest, and most concise Bible lessons ever given. I would give almost anything to have been there, wouldn’t you? The curious lack of recognition of Jesus by some of the friends who knew him best has frequently been a stumbling block to many. I cannot explain it, nor do I believe it needs explanation (but that’s just me). But if I was absolutely convinced that my best friend was dead and entombed, I certainly would not expect to see him in the flesh again. This concise and beautifully laid out lesson about the promise of the Messiah and how it would all turn out must have left the men dumbfounded. As they drew near to their home by the “Warm Waters” (a translation of Emmaus), they wanted more, and invited the strange to dine with them, and he reluctantly agreed. There were women there at the home, too – who else would have prepared the meal, praying over each course, as was the custom. It came time to break the bread, and as this stranger broke it, and blessed it — the words of the blessing are not recorded, nor even if Jesus spoke them, but I am forever reminded of a very old “blessing of the bread” written by a Semitic poet, that goes something like this:
“Back of the loaf is the snowy flour, Back of the flour, the mill, Back of the mill is the wheat and the sower, and the sun, and the Father’s will.”
No, it is not a blessing in the traditional sense, but it brings to my mind each time I think of it, that no matter how much work is done by human hands to bring us our daily bread, we have, first and foremost, our loving Father God to offer our thanksgiving. The celebration of Eucharist (Communion) is a supremely sacred time for me; because in the breaking of the bread, and the sharing around the table, with whosoever comes, Christ is “re-membered,” joined together as one body, and truly known. Because of ongoing physical issues, I was unable to attend our church’s glorious Easter celebration yesterday. In body. My heart, mind, and spirit were there and shared the holy time with them all, and I offer my thanks for all the prayers of healing and love that were sent to God on my behalf. And thanks as well to the wonderful Debbie McConnell who sent me the beautiful bouquet of some of the flowers that had been used to create the beautiful cross of flowers that church members create each Easter. I believe I posted a photo of last year’s cross last Easter. As always, I m blessed with the abundance of enough, and I pray the same for you all. Even though it is one day after Easter, when you stop and think about it, every morning is Easter morning. . . Enough. . .