What a week
It’s only Sunday, the day the week begins, but I feel as if it has been going on forever already!
I’ve never been on such a roller coaster of feelings…
Thursday night, there we all were having supper together…Jesus and his mates…the best friends I’d ever had….relaxing together, celebrating Passover, eating, drinking, enjoying each other’s company. It should have been a real party but somehow Jesus turned it all round….He’d always said things I didn’t understand, but usually I didn’t understand them in a GOOD way…the things he said made me feel better about being me…spoke to me about the way that God loves even a Palestinian nonentity like me.
Not this time, though.
This time his words were all about death, about body and blood…
But even then, there was a promise. When he broke the bread and shared it, he promised that if we remembered him whenever we did this, he’d be with us. That felt special….
I didn’t expect I’d have to make do with memories quite so soon, though.
But then, it happened.
The worst thing.
The soldiers came for him as he was praying in the garden.
We ran away,- we were terrified…
Watched from a safe distance all through that long long day, as he was tried, whipped, mocked….
Watched as he stumbled through the streets of the city, carrying the dreadful weight of his cross
Watched as he hung there, on the hill outside our city, the city he loved.
Watched as he died.
Jesus died and was buried.
Then the holiday that brought no rest…endless hours of bitter grief.
We never expected him to leave us like that and we felt lost, each and every one of us.
Cleopas and I had had enough of Jerusalem, that cruel city.
We decided to head home as soon as the holiday was over,…away from the grief, away from the wild rumours of stones rolled aside and missing bodies….away from everything that reminded us of the disappointment.
We’d so hoped that Jesus was going to be the one to change everything.
To free us from Roman rule.
To make God’s Kingdom on earth real, right here and now.
We talked about this as we trudged up the road to Emmaus,- weary with grief, barely noticing at first the stranger who walked beside us.
When he joined our conversation, it was quite a relief to share our stories, our questions and confusions…and he seemed to understand, - to make sense of things in a way that we’d never have believed possible.
Gradually, we began to feel better…it was almost as if Jesus had never left us, as if he was speaking to us through this stranger.
We didn’t want to say Goodbye to him, so when we reached home we invited him in, offered him supper, a bed for the night.
There wasn’t much food in the house, but we soon rustled up a simple supper…and., as is only good manners, we invited our guest to say a blessing over the food.
So he took the bread, broke it and gave thanks to God………and we knew him.
It was Jesus.
He had never really left us…
We were part of his promise.
When you break bread, think of me and I’ll be with you…..