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Scripture Reading Isaiah 25:6-9Albrecht Durer, Christus und die Junger in Emmaus

Show and Tell

What did Jesus look like? How would we know if we met him? Our show and tell this morning is a loaf of bread – funny, right? Jesus says that we can recognize him when we share bread with each other. It’s the same when we share toys, listen, or wonder together. Let’s listen to this story about Jesus’ friends recognizing him…

Scripture Reading Luke 24:13-35

Meditation

This story resonates strongly with how I think about the resurrection. Like in this story, Christ is usually hidden, but he’s always present. The resurrection is a spiritual reality beyond our ordinary senses. What do I mean by that? I mean that this story is about a deeper layer of life, something that is true more than it is factual. I don’t mean that it’s emotional rather than logic; I mean that believing in the resurrection is less about credibility and more about wisdom. It’s a motivating story about why life matters, not just how it works.

This is to say, I’m acknowledging that I’m not particularly concerned about whether this or any other biblical story happened like this. Some of us need the story to have happened this way, and it may well have. However, I’m more concerned with how to live in a world shaped by this story. I want to take my guideposts from the One who came to fully express who God is – who, as that expression, gave himself to death, who was for that reason raised to new life.

I submit that I’m in good company, thinking about the resurrection in this way. In Luke’s story, it works in roughly the same way: the two disciples find themselves in the presence of someone they can’t quite see. They engage that reality and recognize the risen Christ. But even in recognizing this presence, they don’t “prove” in the conventional sense that it happened and see it factually. They return to Jerusalem and find that other disciples saw Jesus in the meantime. The whole story doesn’t line up, but it’s true.

A story doesn’t have to line up factually in order to point to the purpose of life. For Luke, the purpose, revealed in Jesus, is to demonstrate divine faithfulness. Jesus comes to upend injustice, to dawn on human darkness, to raise human death to life, to free us to be God’s people. God lives this story, and we’re invited to become part of the story.

Here’s how (but it’s about why!) this story happens in us. We find ourselves accompanied by someone along the way and realize we’re not alone in the world. God accompanies us in four ways: someone listens to us when we share our experience; we find our experience within the great story of God; we respond like God’s people, sharing hospitality with the one who comes along with us. And in that response, we find that we ourselves are hosted, welcomed by God in Christ.

What this recognition does in my life is to change the questions I ask. When someone asks for financial help, it’s not about deserving something, but about love and relationship. When I’m shaping my relationship with time and stuff, I try to ask not about “need,” but about what opens me to the presence of God. When I’m down on myself, I ask not about whether I’m okay as a person, but about what God invites me to learn from this experience. These questions don’t always have easy answers, but they do give me hints of Christ’s presence. In all our questions, may we recognize the One who walks alongside us always.

Amen

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