Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Readings are here.
Notes toward a sermon:
A couple is returning home from the heady days of their past week. Last week they had left the garrison town of Emmaus where they work for the Roman legions, stationed there. They had gone for the festival days of Passover. Making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. They had been caught up in the crowds flocking to hear this man, Jesus. So kind, so embracing - healing just to be in his presence. They had seen his shocking confrontation in the Temple - turning over the tables of the money changers and sellers of birds and goats for sacrifice. They had shared meals with the other followers of Jesus - breaking the barley bread, drinking the rough wine. Full of hopes and dreams of a new world - a place where all can live in abundance and fullness of life.
Then the shocking end. Death as a criminal, on a cross, so awful. Now they scuff the dirt of the road as they return to their old life of daily serving the soldiers. It is a good job, the soldiers welcome their work, other peoples' sons stationed far from home, some seem to appreciate them almost like grandparents, a few are arrogant and abusive - but most are just like young men everywhere.
But the heaviness of heart - the joy destroyed - of hopes dashed. Will they ever know joy and hope again?
Now a stranger walking with them. Doesn't he know but now he is answering all their questions. Hearts on fire as he speaks. It is getting to be night time - they invite him into their home for the night. They are all hungry and tired from the walking and talking. It is dangerous on the roads at night. Hospitality is still the highest virtue in their faith. Welcome the stranger is the code of their ancestors from Abraham and Sarah to this night.
The woman lays out the bread and the wine on the table. They all sit as she lights the candles and says the prayers. They serve him first as is only proper - he breaks the bread.
Suddenly - there in the midst of the dailyness of life - the Lord of Hope and Joy - alive. Jesus is in their midst just as he promised whenever 2 or 3 are gathered. No fancy clothes or rituals -- just the everyday evening meal with strangers and family and friends. Always.