Now on that same day two of Jesus' 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
I have been a great lover of walking in the woods. The air is different in the woods, and the sounds of the world are shut out or at least muffled. The density of the woods can make some afraid, and others get lost or turned around. Others seem to need to talk ever louder to calm their fears or to ward off any scary animals. I have learned that most animals smell us long before we would ever know and most want to have nothing to do with us. They enjoy the safety of the dense woods and would rather not have to share it with even denser human beings.
The disciples on the Emmaus road are talking about Jesus when he joins them. They keep talking until one of them looks right at him and wonders out loud if he is the only person who has not heard of Jesus. the living God, standing in their immediate and tangible presence, is not recognized by the dense disciples. Dense, just like you and me. We often ache to see Jesus, when indeed, the living God is walking right beside us. If we can't see, we can also join fellow believers at the table. We will always see him in the breaking of the bread. God invites us to understand that conquering death means eternal presence with us. There is no barrier.
Today, I ask God to help me see the living God in every day places and people. May we live knowing God is with us, in every feast and every trying moment. May we live courageously as people who know God walks with them each and every step of the way.