Rector's Ramblings: April 26th 2020



     We continue our path through Eastertide and I hope we continue to ponder and pray into what it means for us today that Jesus Christ is risen and alive. This Sunday we have the lovely story of the two friends on the Emmaus Road. Don’t just read my ramblings but read the story itself at Luke 24:13-35.

   With Bible readings, I find something different stands out each time. For me, this time it was those words ‘we had hoped....’  We had hoped. Disappointment is stark and dark. The silent scream. Clenched jaws. Tight shoulder muscles, hunched, heads down. Disappointment is exhausting, paralyzing. It’s not as we had hoped cry those two.

    It’s not as we had hoped is our cry too. I don’t mean that just for now, this time of fear and lockdown and disrupted plans. I mean it is our cry for our lives in general when things don’t work out as we had hoped and we face the pain of disappointment and despair. We can perhaps identify with these two on their way to Emmaus – all their hopes in and for Jesus (and for themselves) dashed.

    They are so downcast that they don’t recognise the man who draws alongside. He unfolds for them the whole Story, God’s Story, from the scriptures. He shows them a God who acts in ways they didn’t expect and doesn’t deliver outcomes as they imagined. A God who does bring his loving purposes to be, to the extent of going as far to show his love for the human race as dying on a cross. They still don’t recognise Jesus but invite the stranger to stay and eat. In that moment of breaking bread, they see Jesus. Faith, hope and love are born in the darkness.

  We use the word ‘hope’ in terms of hoping for a particular outcome, a particular target to be met. It’s an optimistic feeling, a sense that somehow things will be better in the future. Yet our Emmaus two learned that ‘hope’ is different when we come to Jesus. It’s not a promise of a good future outcome but the experience of being met and held by one intimately at hand. Those two still didn’t see the outcome they had expected when they originally followed Jesus prior to his arrest and death. Simply put they had met the risen Jesus; they knew he was alive and present. That was enough to fill them with joy and hope.

   Jesus comes alongside us too, as he did those two. Like those two we often don’t see him, though he is there. Let’s invite him in to dine with us – he does await our invitation. And may we all know the hope that comes from the realisation that the living God dwells in us, for in some strange way that gives us all the meaning to life that we need.

   At his last supper in the upper room, Jesus prayed for his followers: "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one- 23I in them and you in me-so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)

  I am beginning to grasp and know that picture of ‘I in them and you in me’ and in it find all the hope there needs to be. It is what Jesus’ resurrection means for us today. Do sit with Jesus and explore for yourselves.

A prayer: Lord of Calvary and Easter, God of surprises. When disappointment and sorrow overwhelm us, give us eyes of faith to see you there with us in the everyday, in the words of scripture and in the breaking of bread. Amen