Have you ever noticed something that you’ve never noticed before even though it is something that has always been there, or something that is different now? For instance have you noticed the different and creative masks that people are wearing? Have you noticed the bright yellow forsythia? Have you noticed people you have never met saying hello to you just to be able to connect with another human being? Have you notice the birds singing? Have you noticed that having a supply of toilet paper makes you happy? (had to put that in there) Have you noticed that the sun shinning through the window makes every thing in its path more beautiful rather than noticing the layer of dust you forgot to wipe off?
Since Covid-19 has made its unwelcome entrance into our world we are looking at our world through eyes that have changed prescription and therefore our perception. We seem to be looking through a new pair of glasses. Some seem to have glasses that only critique, while others look through lenses of care and protection regarding their communities and relationships. We are paying more attention to the little things. It’s the little things that matter now. Small acts of kindness that give the receiver a huge smile. A parade of cars with balloons flying and signs decorated to wish a little girl Happy Birthday. Neighbors taking the time to stop and talk to each other while still adhering to the social distancing.
We all have our own unique “lens,” and that “lens” is how we view the world and one another. We can get used to seeing things only one way, seeing from only one perspective, seeing only the same people.
What happens when you no longer see as clearly as you once did? You go to the optometrist to have your eyes checked. The doctor gives you new lenses and—hurray—you see things you were missing. The world as you see it changes.
Something similar happens to us when we experience a traumatic event or significant alteration. It’s like our prescription changed, and all of a sudden we see things differently. For some the trauma brings dark spots, or blind spots to their vision. But others may see things in a new light.
Our story this morning is an “eye opener” for the two travelers. Now the road to Emmaus was a heavily traveled connector between Jerusalem and Emmaus. In our story we get the impression the two disciples are alone on the road. Why then would they not realize a stranger had joined them? No matter how many times I have read this encounter I never thought about the fact that there would have been many travelers on the road. Passover was done, the need to exit Jerusalem quickly was on their minds. Jesus was crucified, dead, hope gone, and their lives were in danger from Roman authorities. It is conceivable that the two travelers wouldn’t have noticed a person coming alongside of them since they were in deep sorrow grieving the loss of hope for Israel’s redemption.
They weren’t really focused on what Jesus was saying to them as he repeated scripture to them. It was “necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then enter into his glory”(v.27).
What was it then that opened their eyes? It was when the two followers were at table with the risen Christ that they were able to see him. As Jesus broke bread and after blessing it gave it to the them, “their eyes were opened and they recognized them; and he vanished from their sight”(v. 31). Then the two left and returned to Jerusalem. They wanted to be with the others and to tell them “what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of bread”(v.35).
God invites us to break bread with Jesus every time we take communion. God also invites us to have eyes to see Jesus every time we break bread with our families, friends, and Christians around the world. We can experience the risen Christ when we lift our eyes to see with new lenses things we might be missing in our line of sight. Things we experience come into sharper focus if we use our spiritual eyes. The way we can keep our spiritual eyes clearly focused is to read the scriptures because no matter how many times you read them you will find something new that will adjust your way of seeing Jesus and the world around you.
When you read the scriptures I challenge you to read them as you never have before. Read them carefully. Read them with an open mind and open heart. Let Jesus into your heart and break bread with him! The Spirit is with us and will get us through these scary times!
In the Greatest of Hope,