“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognising him. He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’ They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’ ‘What things?’ he asked. ‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.’ He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going further. But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’ They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, ‘It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognised by them when he broke the bread. While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.” (Luke 24:13-43 NIVUK)
Watching Jesus & Listening to the Story Teller
On a recent retreat one of our friends had a stunning personal experience when he spent 90 minutes alone with a story from Jesus’ life. “I watched Jesus and listened to the gospel writer” was his simple phrase of freedom in prayer.
We need times of decompression for a few moments, hours, even days. Time watching Jesus and listening to those who tell his story moves us into a different dimension of seeing life, our place in it and God’s place in it all.
Our hearts are often longing for deeper experience of the eternal and one way to satisfy it is in quiet, deep listening to life, creation and gospel story. And it sometimes is easier done with a few others.
Tonight, we will take a story and together we will listen – open and uninhibited. Aware of God’s presence and desire to communicate with us – we offer our own generous openness to God.
Read the story aloud, very slowly, a couple of times. Listen with your heart, be still like a child who climbs into a caring person’s lap. Imagine Jesus sitting with us and listening in on our conversation – maybe even speaking into it through one another.
After listening to the story, we will offer our first impressions. Then as we listen to one another we may discover new thoughts, emotions, comforts or fears have emerged. Let this be the subject of our conversation.
Let “watching Jesus and listening to his storytellers” renew our souls and enrich our humanity.
A Prayer to Begin & End
We hear the promise of Jesus: When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. We pray together for the fulfillment of that promise.
Father we come to you in praise, for the Heir of your majesty is the friend who shared our weakness, and his rising from the dead has made us heirs with him.
As we gather in him to worship you, we know that our prayer is heard, that your Spirit has new truth to quicken us with joy.
Let him declare to us the inward truths of Jesus:
the words of our Savior, to echo in our conscience,
the face of our Savior, to look into our heart,
the wounds of our Savior, to bring us forgiveness,
the life of our Savior, to strengthen our service.
In the Name of our Savior, we come to you in adoration. Amen