Friday, 2 May 2014

Prospect
The Rev'd Robert J. Warren 

Luke 24:13-35

Luke describes events on the road to Emmaus, near Jerusalem, where Jesus broke bread in the midst of two disciples and opened their minds by his exposition of the Scriptures. The downcast disciples were heartened by the encounter and went on their way much improved. A clergy-person might feel tempted to own this scripture passage. 

Word and Sacrament? In the space of an hour or so? It's about us, innit? 

Don't we strive to be this sort of "point on the journey" for our parishioners? Wouldn't it be great if, on next year's Annual Parochial Return, I was able to report that most our our membership had gone from "Wandering Uncertainty and Deep Perplexity" (line 6) to "Blessed Assurance, Expectation and Commitment to Living the Resurrection Life" (line 8)?  Alas, I do not think Saint Luke was plotting out the shape of a perfect church service or a parish's program year. Yet there is an important point to glean herein.

Jesus is inordinately interested in what the disciples are already talking about. He asks them about it.: "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" He is more interested in them than we are, oftentimes, in our own people. Where did we develop the bad habit of treating the visitor, the new member or the "passer-through" as a bank slate - a tabula rasa, if you will - upon which we impose the indisputable goodness of the creeds, the Mass, John 3:16, the happy life of our parish, bells, hymns, incense or the compelling brown eyes of the Rector?

A shining light of revelation which dismisses human concerns, hopes, griefs, joys, errors and aspirations and takes them off the table with one sweep of the arm is a truly limited affair in the Bible. You don't find much of that. Most of the encounters God has with people are genuine conversations. We already know that the years of struggle or inner turmoil which precede our own healthy forward steps are not negated when we do, in fact, step forward. They are a part of the process. We may be better off afterwards but we are still the struggling person God met when he or she was still struggling. 

He reasoned with us over time.  He met us on the road. This is evidence of his love for us.  It made the next part of the story possible.