On the road to Emmaus this morning. I always use this painting that my grandmother painted for this Sunday as part of the illustration for worship.
My grandmother had stopped painting to raise a family and then serve as an amazing presence in my life and my sister's. I'm so grateful she had begun painting again before she discovered she had cancer and died shortly afterwards.
I love the fact the one of the very first paintings she painted had to deal with Jesus and the resurrection. More than that, it had to deal with Jesus returning to a familiar dusty road with two of his followers who simply didn't recognize him.
My grandmother returned to familiar brushes and techniques, but would she remember how they all could be used?
This week I reconnected with my grandmother's youngest sister. I had not spoken to her in over thirty years. Just as soon as I said, "Aunt Margie, it's Margaret and Warren's grandson, Todd," a familiar, but aged voice responded, "Why Todd, how are you?"
She is now ninety-two years old and has outlived all of her siblings. She and my grandmother were so close to one another, and my grandmother's death in 1979 was so difficult for her.
As we talked, it was like we were two people walking on the road to Emmaus, with the great cloud of witnesses that walk with us each day, making their presence known.
Our shared experiences of picnics and traveling together when I was a child, as well as, spending time with them at the Dairy Queen they owned in Eureka Springs, just made us realize our past was once again alive and walking with our words.
We laughed when we both shared of, "getting older," and she was so happy to hear of my sister and I, and our own grandchildren.
She responded, and I could hear the delight in her expressions of happiness for all she was hearing.
As I hung up the phone she told me, "I just never thought I would be talking to you today. What a wonderful surprise."
I look at this painting and realize her words are the words these two travellers must have felt at the end of the day when Jesus breaks bread with them and they realize that it is Jesus.
This week has been a living reminder of what we will encounter once we reach heaven of the sharing, and revealing moments of not living with the great cloud of witnesses, but being part of them.
Of what it will mean to suddenly be among all of those whom I've walked dusty roads and sat next to in pews. I will be with the countless number of people that I have been present with as they lay dying, and to be present with the One who made it all possible.
This week the road to Emmaus has been my journey, and continues to yours as well.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.