“They stood still, looking sad.”
-Luke 24: 17b, NRSV
Can you see this in a film comedy scene? On the road to Emmaus, Cleopas and partner morosely ignore their hearts’ desire, who is standing there with a bemused look on his face.
Jesus (twinkle in his eye, serious look): “What’s happening?”
Cleopas (sad and serious): “Are you kidding me?
Everybody knows what’s been going on!”
It’s funny because they act like they know what’s going on when we know that they don’t. It’s funny because we know something they ought to. Don’t you want to poke them, “open your eyes, silly people!” It’s funny because this pair is a stark contrast to the two who, in the previous scene, brought glowingly good news to the women at the tomb.”
If I were directing this scene on stage, I’d costume Cleopas and his companion in banners naming what might be hoodwinking them.
“Assumptions about reality”
“Distrusting emotional people to be truthful”
“Reluctance to trust evidence”
“Afraid to hope.”
What would you add?
I’ve heard it suggested that the other traveler was Cleopas’ wife. Whoever they were and whatever their relationship was, it’s clear they had the comfort and certainty of familiarity, perhaps too much familiarity. They know the story but they’re boxed in by what they expect to be true. They don’t trust what they have not seen (even though he’s standing right next to them.)
But Cleopas and his partner trust the stranger enough to pour their hearts out to him. Jesus doesn’t exactly respond with the sympathetic pastoral care we might expect. Instead, he makes his expectations clear.
Come on, men! Why are you being so foolish? Why are your hearts so sluggish when it comes to believing what the prophets have been saying all along? (The Voice)
The light will dawn in the next scene, when bread is broken, when hearts are illuminated and eyes opened.
The resurrection is amazing because Jesus chooses to come back to us, not because of the mechanics of how God made it happen.
Jesus sees us tongue tied, astounded tomb watchers.
Jesus sees us sad looking know–it-all’s walking along.
Jesus sees us broken hearted questioners.
Jesus sees us accusers.
Jesus sees us defenders.
Jesus sees us as beloved
and Jesus comes back.
He is risen! So why is it still second nature to stand and look sad?
He is risen! And is working the yeasty stuff of God’s reign into we who are as dry flour made from broken seeds of promise.
He is risen! And reminding us that the Holy Spirit’s anointing is on the way, oil to soften and bind.
This is our scene, here and now. Let’s rise, not only to our individual better selves, but to the body with Christ as sacred center. Let’s talk with our walking partners and open our eyes to the joyful message of life Christ offers.
In God’s Grace, Karen
Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God. Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. -1 Peter 1: 21-23 NRSV
Karen L Munson
A pastor and artist, I'm wondering while I'm wandering through God's marvelous creation.