NOTE from REV. FRED—Every once in a while I like to go back into the files for a “Best of.” This is from our May 2020 Newsletter. I feel a range of emotions as I raise it up now, from sadness and frustration (even anger, dare I admit?) to thankfulness and joy that through it all–and through the ongoing-ness of it all–we are who we are and God is who God is. As we continue the journey through this time of ongoing pandemic, we take comfort AND joy AND strength in God, in each other, and in the work we are called to do—the “Sacred Work” that our current worship theme is all about. AMEN. And now…
WHERE IS EMMAUS? Sharing the Good News in a Time of Covid
Many of you know the “Road to Emmaus” story in the Gospel of Luke chapter 24. Indeed we just heard it as the Gospel lesson in our worship service on Sunday April 26. But for all its familiarity the question, Where is Emmaus?, is an honest one. We really don’t know.
Luke tells us that it’s “seven miles from Jerusalem” and there are three or four archeological sites that could be Emmaus, but none are certain. We just don’t know where Emmaus is. So, why am I going on about this?
Many of us know the adage that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. There’s a lot of wisdom in that saying. And whoever said it first, I wouldn’t be surprised if they knew the Road to Emmaus story and knew it well. The disciples meet Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Jesus encounters them and shares his wisdom with them along the way. There is one part of the story which is stationary—and it’s key (!)—in which Jesus shares a meal with them and “they recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread.” But no sooner does that happen, then Jesus is on his way again and so are they.
The very fact that we don’t know where Emmaus is says so much. Heck, if I were one of those two disciples I would have wanted to build a chapel, or a monument, or at least post a sign or something—this is where we had communion with Jesus!
But they didn’t do that. They kept moving, to tell the other disciples about their encounter and to fan out and to bring the good news to others. Emmaus is about as holy a site as there could be—the site of the first celebration of holy communion following Jesus’ resurrection. And yet, we don’t know where it is and so far as we know nobody even thought to mark it as a holy site.
So, what does all of that have to do with us now?
We live in uncertain times. We simply don’t know what church will look like, what worship will look like, what fellowship will look like, what Sunday school and Adult Ed and Kidz Camp and the Food and Clothing and Layette ministries, and on and on and on will look like going forward.
This much we know: it will be different. As we have done and are doing so far, we will keep moving, changing, and spreading out in different ways NOT for the sake of being different, no. We will change and move and spread out in different ways for the sake of being who we are (followers of Christ) and for the sake of doing what do (sharing the Good News of God’s love and care for us and the world). To do that in and for our times we will keep going and changing and finding new ways.
Where is Emmaus? It’s simple. Emmaus is everywhere, and in every way, that we are we—followers of Christ, sharing the Good News of God’s love and care for us and the world.
God Bless Us on the Road to Emmaus,
Rev. Dr. Fred Weidmann, Senior Minister