Room to believe
In Luke 24: 13-35 we witness the disciples encounter with the Risen Christ on the Road to Emmaus.
Some time ago on the Facebook wire there was a video of a young boy eating sweets with an old woman. Both the young boy and the old woman both thought that they were God to each other. In essence that is what the Road of Emmaus is for Christians – encountering God among each other.
In reality, each and every day we interact with others we are travelling to Emmaus. Because we are an Easter People, we are always walking the road to Emmaus. We are encountering time and time again, the risen Christ and He makes himself known to us in Word and Sacrament. Jesus is made known to us every time priests and pastors interpret the Word of God and the importance of it in the daily lives of themselves and the people committed to their keeping. Jesus is made known in the Sacraments of the Church. Jesus is made real by the community and the only thing that we can do is to be like the disciples and spread the word.
In his book, Jesus: A Pilgrimage, James Martin, S.J. states that the story “demonstrates how the disciples came to understand the Resurrection not only through direct experience of the Risen Lord, but by reflecting on it together as a community.” Together as a community, we gather Sunday after Sunday to ponder the mysteries of God. Week after week, month after month, year after year we gather to ponder this holy mysteries of God often asking why – often asking “how can it be?” Often we gather and we say that it does not make sense. Whether it is done in the context of the Eucharist or in the context of Evening Prayer, it is done because we need a place to come and doubt and we need a place to come and believe. Hence it is all done in the context of the community. So what is the community – who is the community?
In Scripture the community are those who profess and spread the word that Jesus is risen. For our day, the community is made up of people who gather weekly to profess this mystery of God and those who gather in the community are Christian. Christians are people who gather. Christians are those who come together whenever there is a reason to get together to show others – the wider world the love that God has for his people and the joy that the Good News of Jesus Christ gives to people. Christians are people who follow what the disciples of Jesus did after the resurrection – gather together to talk about the Word of God and how it impacts them and to have table fellowship – that is what makes a Christian.
Time and time again I have heard people say that in order to be a good Christian they do not have to go to Church – the ones who come when “they got nothing else better to do.” That is not what the disciples did after Good Friday. Rather they gathered, proclaimed the news, reflected, had a meal and went to tell others - the same format as the Sunday Eucharist.
English Theologian C. S. Lewis stated it best in that “Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself your neighbour is the holiest object present to your senses.” Thus the Christian is fully a Christian when they gather with other Christians because it is when Christians gather together and talk about the things that God has done for them then we can have the room to doubt and the room to believe. Christians with other Christians walk the Road to Emmaus.
No matter where we are on this journey, know that we are on the Road to Emmaus together and we do not walk alone. God appears in various forms. Know you are on the Road to Emmaus and may you see Jesus in the breaking of bread. The Rev. Jeffrey H. Petten, B.A., M.Div. Priest in charge The Anglican Parish of Rose Blanche
Rev. Jeffrey H. Petten