We all have a companion

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 7, 2014

For many Christians, this Sunday will mark the end of the Great Fifty Days of Easter, a joyful season of celebration just too big for one day!

During this season, we have read stories that tell us about the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, including one about two disciples on a journey and their encounter with a stranger.

It is the evening of the first Easter Day, and two of Jesus’ disciples were making a journey, walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus.

One was Cleopas, and the other is unnamed.  Along the way, Cleopas and his companion encountered a stranger who took a particular interest in them and who gave them a moment to stop, to take a breath, and to let the sadness they were feeling surface and come into their consciousness.

It was a stranger who tried to help them bring some clarity to everything that was muddled in their heads and in their hearts by using the lens of scripture.  It was a stranger who accepted an invitation to stay with them awhile and share a meal – a stranger who took a loaf of bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them.

Suddenly, when the bread was broken and shared, Cleopas and his companion knew who this stranger was.  It was the risen Christ!

I believe this story is not about only Cleopas and his companion.

It’s about us – disciples who are met by Jesus on the road, on our various journeys, in all the messiness and confusion of our lives, sometimes on roads and journeys that are filled with pain, frustration, and despondency that threaten to overwhelm us.  It is about us who are Jesus’ disciples, met and accompanied by Jesus even when our spiritual eyes are cloudy and we don’t recognize him right there beside us.

And, then we take a moment – a moment to be in the presence of this one who is indeed interested in us.  We are allowed and enabled to take a deep breath and to rest for a short time there with him, to stop our constant movement just for that moment.

The scriptures are opened, so we can make some sense of our lives, with all their messiness and confusion, in the light of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love.

We gather together with other disciples for a meal where we can behold and be nourished by Christ’s own presence.

Then, we are sent on our different ways, our own roads, our various journeys, to be God’s partners in the world and to share God’s grace because what we have found in Jesus is just too good not to share.

And, perhaps to recognize Jesus a little more often and a little more clearly each time we encounter him on our journey.

Each time the community of the risen Christ takes a moment in Christ’s presence to gather around the scriptures and to share the bread at Christ’s table, we are reminded that it is not a journey we make alone.

We have a companion.