Sunday, May 8, 2011
That very day, the first day of the week, two of the disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad. 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?" He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 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. 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." Then he said to them, "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?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 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. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. Luke 24:13-35
Bread is the simplest of things, and breaking bread, the most basic of human interaction. Sharing a cookie or a meal, breaking break together is a sign of love and tenderness, even when we don't feel either. My mother was a great bread baker, and the smell of bread rising and cooking still can give me a feeling of being loved and nurtured as a child. The steam rising in a cold winter kitchen is completely banished by making bread. Cold hearts are often warmed completely when a meal is shared. The simplest of things often reveals God's love so clearly. And on this Mother's Day, I want to remember all those who showed me God's love by sharing a meal, a cup of coffee, a smile.
The disciples on the road encountered Jesus but were clueless to who he was. He even gave them a full theological explanation of his life and ministry, and brilliantly revealed himself - and they were clueless. And yet, in the simplest of things, as the bread was being broken, they remembered love, and God was revealed to them in the son. The smallest of tender gestures was the vehicle of God's love completely revealed.
Today, as I sit in the airport returning home from Bismark, I thank God for the people here who made me feel so welcome, made me feel at home right here. And I ask God to help me remember that is the simple gifts, the simple signs, the smallest of gesture that welcome God and reveal the love that is in our midst. May we all be thankful for the thousands of small ways that our mothers make love known and in so doing show us the way to God.