The New Normal, Part II
I’d like you to try to imagine that you’re Jesus and it’s Resurrection Sunday. Very early in the morning, you have come back to life, woken up, and left your tomb. To mark that event, Matthew (ch.28) tells us an earthquake has shaken the land as an angel rolled aside the stone blocking your tomb’s entrance. After checking on the guards that fainted a moment ago, you proceed to stroll around the cemetery garden, all alone for a bit. Wow- the flowers smell great after you’ve been dead for three days! But soon you show yourself to Mary and Mary Magdalene and, a little later in Galilee, to some of your disciples to let them know the incredible news- that you are back. So far, so good. But what do you do next? Well, if you are Jesus, you go for a walk. This story is continued in Luke 24.
Scripture:Luke 24:13-21 (NLT)
That same day [Easter Sunday] two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.
We all know where the road Emmaus is (metaphorically speaking), don’t we? In fact, we’ve all been there in one way or another at some time in our lives. The road to Emmaus is whatever we do or wherever we go to salvage and sort out our feelings, to summon the courage and desire to keep going on… or to try and forget. The road to Emmaus is whatever we do or wherever we go to reclaim our sanity when the world goes to pieces.
This may happen at the betrayal of one we respect very much. The death of a loved one may put us on the road to Emmaus; or it may occur when we are terminated from our job, confined at home too long, or when we face a child’s or loved one’s illness and feel helpless. It may come when advancing age forces us to pull up the roots of a lifetime and accept the limitations of decreasing vitality. You know what I am talking about, right? The proverbial road to Emmaus is every person’s struggle.
Ask yourself honestly: on a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you struggle with the question of why God would allow a virus like this to happen to His people? Has thinking about Jesus’ resurrection changed your perspective on that question at all?
Lord, we want to sit at your feet and learn from you. We want to bring the things we’ve been “fussing over” and lay them down for you. Help us to believe and trust that you will handle all this in due time, and that we will be better for it. Even when life stops, we get busy with “other things” and worry; and are distracted from you. We ask for your help in focusing on what matters most, and for your help to live with an awareness that because of your love we are secure in who we are – right now. Because you are who you are – always. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.