Today, we look at the world through The Emmaus Window in Howes Chapel. We know the story so well. Two people are traveling from Jerusalem back to Emmaus; they are in deep grief over the crucifixion of the one they had hoped would redeem Israel. They were joined by one who walked with them. This Unrecognized One, pretended to go on, but then came in to eat with them. When he broke the bread, their eyes were opened, they recognized him as Jesus of Nazareth, the one who had been crucified, and at that moment he was gone from their sight. One of the travelers is Cleopas; the other is not named. But wait, think about it! The other one is always named; he is Robert, LeRoy, Jim, Pierre; She is Alice, Kim, Young Ai, Denise. The other traveler is you; she/he is every one who has honestly faced the reality of the crucifixion and wept in sadness over the tragic violence and cruelty of this world. It is in the breaking of bread that we too, recognize the Unrecognized One, and before we can capture him, he is on his way before us.
The artist caught these two travelers at the moment of their recognition, just before Jesus moved on. Their hands, like their eyes, are now open for whatever it is that the Recognized One has in store for them. Jesus’ hands hold the bread with a conviction that assures the travelers that their redemption is indeed near. Looking through this window into the world calls on us at Garrett-Evangelical to pray for the peace and the end of violence. The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus have absolutely no words of retribution, revenge, or hostility to the world for what the world did to him. Instead the words, “Do not be afraid” and “Peace be with you” are his words to the world. So, today, we pray through broken bread for the world in the words of Rubem Alves BREAD AND JUSTICE (United Methodist Hymnal, #639)
Bread and Justice
O God, just as the disciples heard Christ’s words of promise and began to eat the bread and drink the wine in the suffering of a long remembrance and in the joy of a hope, grant that we may hear your words, spoken in each thing of everyday affairs;
Coffee, on our table in the morning;
the simple gesture of opening a door to go out, free;
the shouts of children in the parks;
a familiar song, sung by an unfamiliar face;
a friendly tree that has not yet been cut down.
May simple things speak to us of your mercy, and tell us that life can be good.
And may these sacramental gifts make us remember those who do not receive them:
who have their lives cut every day, in the bread absent from the table;
in the door of the hospital, the prison, the welfare home that does not open;
in sad children, feet without shoes, eyes without hope;
in war hymns that glorify death;
in deserts where once there was life.
Christ was also sacrificed; and may we learn that we participate in the saving sacrifice of Christ when we participate in the suffering of his little ones.
By Al Caldwell, Retired Faculty, editor