- Rev. John R. Nader
Hearts on Fire
Luke 24:13-35 -- The Road to Emmaus
I have to be honest; this passage would not have been my first choice for the topic of this week’s sermon. Afterall, this passage is typically used on the first Sunday after Easter as a celebratory passage of resurrection. That is precisely why it works in this context. This passage deals with grief, loss, and searching for answers.
The two companions are searching for answers to understand their grief and loss as Jesus, their rabbi and the one who they believed would redeem Israel, was crucified. Within this grief is a hint of hope. They share with the mysterious man that the women had discovered his tomb to be empty. It is evident they don’t know what to make of this. They are trying to wrap their minds around all of this information.
I remember when my brother died, I was in a similar situation. I ran the story in my mind over and over again; trying to get my head around what had happened. A routine medical procedure went wrong. A month later he was found acting out of his mind. Rushed to discover what was going on we discovered his heart and esophagus has been fused together in the ablation.
I still don’t have the answers to my questions but what I do have is a community of believers who have stories similar to my own. Additionally, there are many aspects of life that I cherish more fully knowing that I should never take anything for granted. I have also found his presence with me in many ways in the last five years. God uses our everyday lives to help us discover his grace in powerfully transforming ways.
After explaining the scriptures to the companions, the mysterious sojourner joined the companions for a meal. When he blessed the bread and broke it their eyes were opened to see that he was Jesus, but then he disappeared from their sight. “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?” (32) Our hearts are on fire as we come to the Table of Christ experiencing his mysterious presence and the presence of those who have gone before us.
The Table of Christ is a powerful place. It is where we can bring our lives to God and experience the redeeming grace of Jesus. It is a place where we come together as a community of believers who share in our healed brokenness. It is a place where all are welcomed to receive Christ into their lives and to become Christ for others. There is no place more powerful than the Table of Christ.
We have all had our own Emmaus Road experiences. Whether it be our questions of life we cannot wrap our minds around or how God places people and situations in our lives to be grace-filled Christ experiences. We can all relate to these two companions on the journey whose heats were burning when their eyes were opened to recognize that Christ was with them along the way.