"Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him."
~ Luke 24: 13-16
Years ago my grandmother painted "The Road to Emmaus." The painting, for her, was based on one of her favorite pieces of scripture. She and my grandfather traveled and visited many places around the world. While they visited new places, she was always aware that God was present, and that the stranger she met walking along the road may very well be God, or at least, part of the Divine.
Our Lenten Journey begins with one step. Like the two that traveled along the road to Emmaus, they had encountered some traumatic life changes, and with each step, they talked of the events they had experienced. Things were not necessarily looking good, and the news was not good.
Jesus had been put to death, and the disciples were becoming scattered, and were trying to process what had just happened. Their experience had literally left them fragmented and wounded, and their shock, caused them to become blind to what was before them.
We ask ourselves, "How did they not recognize Jesus walking along the road with them?"
We should be asking ourselves the very same question.
"How do we not recognize that God has been walking with us each moment of every day of our lives?"
While our eyes may seem to be open, and we may be talking about what we have seen, and experienced, the fact remains, "Where is God in all of this?"
As we search ourselves in this season of self-reflection, there will always be parts of ourselves that we don't know. There will always be some sense of darkness, where only the light of Christ can reside. Let's face it, there will always be something about us that only God has seen.
Even when we know quite a lot about ourselves - our gifts and weaknesses, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and drives - large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness.
As much as I think I know myself, there will always be hidden things about myself. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see us better than we can.
"How did they not recognize Jesus before them?"
The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves. We will never fully know the significance of our presence in the lives of our friends. While we also know how involved Jesus was in the lives of the disciples, I have to think of the times in my life when a situation has kept me from seeing what was right before me. Often, our eyes can be kept from seeing what is before us when our heart is involved.
In these times, that is when grace comes into view. Grace not only calls us to humility but also to a deep trust in those who love us.
Don't dwell on the times when you find that emotions or situations have made you blind to what was actually before you. Instead, ask God to reveal these things to you, and pray for God's guidance through them.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear God, open my eyes so that I may see Your presence in my life. Reveal to me that which lies within, and be with me as I learn more about myself and others. Amen.
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.