Easter Sunday- Rev Michael Barnes

The road to Emmaus

The story of the two disciples walking the road to Emmaus is a compelling account of two followers confronting their grief and doubts and coming to new insights about the resurrection, and more importantly new experiences of life with Jesus.

It is a story of what happened then, and a parable of what happens now.

How so? All of us are on the road, on the journey of life. Sometimes, strangers join us for a while. We should welcome them, as the two disciples did. They may be a sign of the risen Christ. We will never know for sure but, as we engage them, they potentially embody an invitation to further our understanding of faith, to go beyond what we know.

On the journey of life, we can also learn more about our own faith tradition, particularly the scriptures. We can develop our understandings of them. Old meanings are transformed and renewed. We need injections of insight so that our interpretation of the scriptures doesn’t hold us back, doesn’t lock us into the past.

And then, there is the breaking of bread, ‘Jesus broke the bread, and their eyes were opened.’ The two caught a glimpse of him and then he vanished. We catch glimpses of the Risen Christ when life is not only shared but broken open.

This account reminds us of the Last Supper (Lk 22:17-20), and especially the feeding of the 5,000 (Lk 9: 10-17), notably the words, ‘he took the bread, said a blessing, broke the bread and gave it to them.’

When life is shared and broken open, when people cross over boundaries to share bread with others, the kingdom of God comes to birth and Christ is strangely present.

The Uniting Church Basis of Union says, ‘We are a pilgrim people on the way to a promised end.’ The story of the journey to Emmaus is a beautiful parable of what it means to be a pilgrim, strangers, scriptures, broken bread…