Sunday, May 15, 2011

Re-reading the Emmaus Road (Easter 3 Year A)

Luke 24:13-35

This week’s lectionary contains a familiar post-resurrection story. Two disciples are walking on the Emmaus Rd, a third person joins them who is ultimately revealed as the risen Christ.

I want to mention very briefly three things about this story.

1. Who were these two disciples?

I know many of you have heard me talk about this before. However I think it bears repeating. As I looked at various commentaries, articles and pieces of art about this passage I was, again, amazed how many times I read the phrase “these two men “. 

How do we know it was two men? Quite simply . . . we don’t! Scripture only names one of these two disciples, Cleopas, the other remains unknown. The only thing we know for certain is that it was not one of the eleven.  Scripture tells us that these two disciples returned to give the eleven news that they had met the risen Christ.

Therefore I want to challenge the patriarchal reading of the scripture that immediately assumes that an unknown disciple must be male. 

Personally, I think the strongest contester for the position of the unnamed disciple is Cleopas’ wife. She was one of the women at the foot of the cross. (John 19:25, Cleopas is the Greek form of the name whilst Clopas is the Aramaic.) Personally, I find it hard to imagine that she would have been left behind, much easier to think of this as a couple returning home, saddened by the events of the previous few days. These two disciples obviously shared a house as they invited Jesus to stay in their home.

However, we cannot definitely know who it was. As I already said I simply want to challenge the patriarchal reading of scripture that immediately assumes that an unnamed disciple must be male and open our minds to other possibilities.

2. Not recognising Jesus

It is interesting how in the post-resurrection stories Jesus remains hidden until a moment of revelation.

I want to think about recognising Christ. It is another of those themes that we have talked about many times in our community. That we learn to recognise Christ wherever we are, whoever we are with and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. 

I think in this story there are two keys to recognising Christ . . . conversation and hospitality. I think these are useful keys for us as we meet people in our daily lives.

Conversation . . .  Christ initiated the conversation, Christ went to them. C an we take time to converse with those who are different, those we would not normally bother with, those who are wandering down a road feeling sad, scared and a little lost?

Hospitality . . . opening our homes, inviting in the stranger, risky, yet, as in this case, the risen Christ may be revealed to us.

3. Eucharist 

 Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it.

“This four fold action is the paradigm of Jesus’ life, the way he would have us interpret his life. It is his life that God chooses to take, bless, break and give. This self-giving of the Parent of the universe, for us humans and our salvation, ought to just astonish us.” 
(Jeff Krantz, “Preaching Peace Online”.  2008 

I wondered if we should make this the model for our lives and for our community. Lives dedicated to the service of God and God’s creation

Should we ask God to take our lives, bless our lives, break our lives and give our lives following this Eucharistic pattern?  In being broken our lives can be shared with others.

Hopefully, in living our lives in this model, the risen Christ will be revealed to those we meet.

+Ab. Jane

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Christ is Risen (Easter Sunday Year A)

As I ponder the Easter events I have a question:

How does the resurrection affect me today?

The account of the resurrection in John is, perhaps, my favourite. The author of John writes that the empty tomb was discovered by Mary Magdalene, she then went and told Peter and another disciple. They returned with her, saw the empty tomb and left to go home. Mary remained and Mary met the resurrected Christ.

This holds the promise of full life and experience to women. Mary, here, is portrayed as an apostle. The apostle to the apostles.  One sent by Christ to bear witness to the empty tomb. In a culture where women could not even give testimony in a court of law, a woman was used to bear testimony to the resurrection. The author of John is indeed showing that women can play a full and equal part in the community of believers. I am glad for us in Lindisfarne that is a reality.

A second way it affects me is, perhaps, the one I need to practice more often. In the text we are told the disciples went home, yet Mary remained. She was the one who took time to linger and she was the one who met the risen Christ. In our culture lifestyle is so rushed. It feels like my life is always busy. There is always so much to do. I would probably have rushed home to clean the house or do the ironing. In the business world busyness and productivity are often seen as signs of success. Yet, maybe we miss so much. We don’t want to be so busy that we miss the Christ.

Lastly, the way I am affected by the resurrection is influenced by the practice of finding God in everything. At Easter tide there is . . .

Joy rippling through the universe
Energy pulsating through the earth

A tiny green shoot pushing through the dark, cold earth
A small ray of sunlight peeping through the dark clouds

The dawn breaking
The birds singing

Resurrection Life bursting forward with all the promise and hope that brings

Christ is Risen . . . Christ is Risen Indeed.

Easter Blessings, + Jane