Luke 24: 17-20
Easter afternoon, two men travel home from Jerusalem discussing all that took place during the Passover week they just celebrated. An already big holiday ended with the crucifixion of Jesus, a popular Prophet? Teacher? Healer? Hoped for Messiah? Stories were swirling around the town about the empty tomb, Judas hanging himself, Barabas being released and more. The two men walk along swapping stories they have each heard. It must have been something like listening to the news trying to decide what really happened on January 6th. They did not recognize that the man walking with them and engaging them in conversation was Jesus. The text says their faces were “downcaste.” They were confused and grieving.
Jesus does not lecture them but first asks them to share what they’re talking about. He first allows them to verbalize reality as they are experiencing it. The two are astounded. How could this person not know about things going on? Jesus asks them to explain what things they are talking about. Sometimes we jump into conversations assuming we know what is being talked about. In fact, we cannot know for sure what someone else is thinking or how they are responding to events swirling in the news. A conversation based on assumptions about the other can easily go astray. Jesus starts relationship with us by starting with them. He did not start with theology of resurrection but asked them to explain first what they understood and experienced.
In chaplaincy training, we learned about “the gift of presence.” Sometimes just being present and listening as a person shares is a wonderful blessing. Often we don’t need people to pity us but to accept us in our situation and to believe that we can handle it. On the “road” of life to where ever our Emmaus is, we have the blessing of traveling with others. Sometimes we are challenged to be the Good Samaritan when we find people destroyed by life but other times we walk beside, listening and sharing. It is the first step in building relationship.
So, think back over the events of your last week, since last Tuesday. What stands out to you? Does any event come to your mind? Perhaps think about it and where you see God’s hand guiding and thank him. Thank God for those who listened and those who comforted you as you pondered events. Is there someone you could give the “gift of presence” to today? Blessing on your journey!