What I’m Thinking: Ordinary Places

The risen Jesus turned up in the most extraordinary places – meaning he appeared in the most ordinary of places.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the 24th chapter of Luke’s Gospel, when the risen Jesus appeared to two of his disciples as they walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35).

It is, I confess, one of my favorite stories. It is rare that I begin a communion service without referring to it, in fact, because to my mind there are several things that happened in this encounter between Jesus and these two disciples (Cleopus and an unnamed companion) that really are foundational not just for Christian worship but also for Christian faith.

First of all, I think we have to take seriously that it is not easy to recognize the risen Christ. Jesus’ closest friends struggled with that in the days following his resurrection, frequently having to be told who he was even as they encountered him. But the other thing is: there is a contrast between what Jesus’ friends had expected of him and what Jesus actually chose to bring to them. Cleopus and his companions say that they had hoped that Jesus was the one who redeem Israel. Jesus replies essentially by redefining what it means to redeem. Instead of the overthrow of an occupying power, Jesus would work with the overturning and the reforming of the human heart.

When did they recognize him — when they sat at a table and broke bread — it is in the ordinary places of our lives that we do meet with the risen Christ. We may or may not recognize the risen Christ. The risen Christ may spend a good deal of time instructing us, teaching us, guiding us, renewing us before we learn who has been reshaping us.

But then at the table, in the house — these are the places in which the risen Christ comes to visit us. Yes, God is with us in those terrible and unforgettable times, the tragedies of life, but where we find ourselves renewed, reformed, reinspired, is on the road and at the table.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on April 17, 2023

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