When every day seems the same,
with no one listening to our dreams,
our hopes, our fears and worries, you pause, God our Baker,
so you can read our lips.
When every road seems the same,
filled with despair’s potholes,
littered with pain’s detritus,
you come alongside us, God our Lover,
pointing out that side road
that will take us to Abba’s Fine Eats.
When every step trips us up,
when every loss weighs us down,
when every grief breaks our heart,
you come, God our Keeper,
with your book of grace
filled with easy words
and lots of pictures
to teach us hope.
When every one ignores us,
when every thing disappoints us,
you walk with us, you talk with us,
you refuse to abandon us.
By Tom Shuman
HYMN: Be present now dear risen Lord
Be present now dear risen Lord,
help us to know the living Word;
teach us your true Emmaus way;
reveal yourself to us today.
The Word made flesh; our only head,
be known to us in breaking bread
here in the holy fellowship
bread in our hands, cup to the lip.
We meet you at the supper, Lord,
and feel with friends the binding cord.
Knowing your sacrifice for all,
we would serve others as you call.
In thankfulness we look for you,
alive to us in all we do.
We members of your body share
in service, sacrament and prayer.
Our risen friend, our glorious king,
there at the end we hope to sing
on that great day, your wedding feast,
knowing your love has never ceased.
© David Beswick 1996
Think about the words of this hymn. In what ways do they help you understand the true Emmaus way and know the living Word?
Reading from scripture: Luke 24:13-35
The Walk to Emmaus
13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.[b] 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth,[c] who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.[d] Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah[e] should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us[f] while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
We trudge on the road
and the journey seems long,
for all becomes tiring
without any Song.
We catch up to one
who has gone on ahead,
a stranger he seems
to those who are dead.
he expounds the Word
and confounds our grief,
our hearts come alive
with veins of belief.
Together we dine
at a roadside place,
in the breaking of bread
out leaps Easter grace.
We hurry back home
and it does not seem long,
all journeys are short
when singing his Song.
The Servant-Girl at Emmaus
(A Painting by Velazquez)
She listens, listens, holding her breath. Surely that voice
is his—the one who had looked at her, once, across the crowd,
as no one ever had looked?
Had seen her? Had spoken as if to her?
Surely those hands were his,
taking the platter of bread from hers just now?
Hands he’d laid on the dying and made them well?
Surely that face—?
The man they’d crucified for sedition and blasphemy.
The man whose body disappeared from its tomb.
The man it was rumored now some women had seen this morning, alive?
Those who had brought this stranger home to their table
don’t recognize yet with whom they sit.
But she in the kitchen, absently touching the wine jug she’s to take in,
a young Black servant intently listening,
swings round and sees
the light around him and is sure.
By Denise Levertov
O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect for Easter 3 The Book of Common Prayer (American)
Imagine you are living in the time of Jesus. You have discovered this wonderful teacher Jesus of Nazareth. You have followed him for some time. You have heard him preach, have seen him perform miracles, have shared meals with him. You had hoped that you have found the Messiah, the one who would redeem Israel.
You have lived through this last week. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, how the crowds welcomed him. You may even have had supper with him. You thought the time was close to the fulfilment of your dreams. You knew he was a mighty prophet. You witnessed from afar how the chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.
Now you have lost all hope. You feel despair. You are lost. You are confused. You might just let your imagination go through all these feelings as you decide that you have to get out of Jerusalem. You just have to get away. The village Emmaus is about 11 km away. You are walking with a friend.
You might have heard a rumour that the women found an empty tomb. You dismiss this. You’re talking with your friend. Both of you are feeling depressed and low in spirit.
A stranger comes along and he asks you: “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” You stop and stand still. Is it actually possible that he has not heard what had happened in Jerusalem? So, you respond: “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He responds: “What things?” You fill him in. You tell him about Jesus of Nazareth and your hope that he would redeem Israel. You end up telling him the whole story.
Somehow just telling someone else who listens attentively, is lifting your spirit a little. Then he replies: “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”
You are stunned wondering what he actually means. The stranger then proceeds to interpret the Scriptures for you beginning with Moses and all the prophets. Your understanding comes slowly. You have never looked at it that way. It does seem to make sense. Your hope is rising slowly. Could he be right?
The stranger is about to walk away from you as you near the village. You do not want to let him go. It is getting dark. It is really not safe to travel at night. And his presence has made a difference to you. You urge him to stay with you and he agrees.
You sit down at the table with him to share supper. He takes the bread, blesses it as he breaks it and then he gives it to you. Something in the familiarity of the gesture and the words speak to you. It is as if your eyes are opened and you recognise Jesus.
He vanishes. You say to your friend: “Were not our hearts burning within us when he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the Scriptures to us?”
You are filled with joy. You know you cannot stay. You want to share the good news of the risen Lord with your friends in Jerusalem. You walk all the way back despite the darkness. You are filled with energy. When you find the eleven and their companions you share with them your story. They share with you that Simon has seen the risen Lord as well.
Take some time to stay with the story before you return to the present. You might remember some moments of insight yourself. Let yourself remember. Remember: How often insight occurs indirectly, slipping in sideways from the unconscious, or, while your eyes, blurry in daydreaming, lose their focus. How often a problem solves itself in twilight sleep, in the shower or garden, while you’ve ceased to concentrate on the puzzle.
Remember: Your Emmaus moment or moments? They may not be as dramatic. They may be more like a slow insight, making yourself known to your mind. Maybe a soft still voice whispering to you.
Take some time to contemplate these moments. You might want to be in silent communion with Jesus or you may want to speak with him. You might want to finish with a prayer of thanksgiving for these moments in your life.
The blessing of God the creator,
here from the beginning;
The blessing of Christ the Saviour,
God-with-us in history and humanity;
The blessing of the Holy spirit,
Calling us into a future of hope:
Be with each of us,
Now and for ever more.
Written by Dorothea Wojnar
Dorothea Wojnar is an elder, worship leader and preacher at TUC. She has a deep interest in meditative and contemplative worship. In addition to her roles at TUC, Dorothea is a member of presbytery and a member of its Pastoral Relations Committee.More from Dorothea Wojnar