If we all have a super-human strength, what’s yours? My family tell me mine is the ability ‘to laugh at myself’. I wonder how the two grief-stricken, dumped disciples felt being described by Jesus as thick ‘numb-skulls’ or ‘dim-wits’, but that’s what Jesus calls these two headed home to Emmaus with their dreams in tatters, torpedoed by Jesus’ cruel crucifixion.
Naturally, when we lose something, or someone, dear to us, we look for home comfort. Understandably, Cleopas & Co. were homeward bound after seeing their team drubbed 20 – nil, buried without trace, oblivious to Jesus’ identity as he walks and talks with them. Grief, sorrow, and sadness can do that, blind us to reality and obscure the bigger picture. It’s not so much a ‘crisis of faith’ as a ‘crisis of imagination’. And this is where many of us find ourselves today, caught between death and new life; our loved ones, plans, aspirations and dreams sunk as we only just manage to keep our head above water. Where is Jesus in all the chaos and mystery? Right beside us, in fact closer than that. But can we let our pride be undermined and imaginations stretched to let Jesus sow hope in our souls.
Sonia was grief-stricken and ready to tell God ‘What for!’ Life had been hellish, with little hope of improvement, but as she prepared to let fly with two barrel blasts, she found herself calmed by Jesus’ presence and helped to see a bigger picture. This spawned gratitude and the ability to seek and see positive steps forward. She left that moment and space a different person.
How slow these two ‘numb-nuts’ were to see Jesus with them, but at home, reaching for more ‘comfort food’ they recognised Jesus as he broke bread. And no sooner did the truth dawn, than Jesus disappeared from their sight. Jesus had taken them through their ancient Scriptures to show that Jesus’ death and resurrection are foundation for the New Kingdom of Life & Love that God was building. Having trudged 7 hopeless miles home they sped 7 miles back to Jerusalem in no time at all to tell the others, their outlook transformed and reframed.
Lament & Grief are appropriate in the loss of loved ones and dreams. The pain of teachers, nurses, doctors, railway workers, church ministers & congregations (et al) is all too real. The emerging Emmaus story offers us a journey and framework of comfort, courage, and creativity. It points to a Jesus who comes alongside us in our short-sightedness, to guide and inspire, though we may not always recognise him.
Good Grief, Our Dream is Dead! Going home instead, Comfort of my own bed,
Good Grief, The Pain! Hope hard to sustain, Love down the drain,
Good Grief, Where’ve you been? What we’ve seen, Blown to smithereens,
Good Grief, How our hearts burned! Our minds turned, All we learned,
Good Grief, Don’t go away! Come in to stay, You’ve shown The Way,
Good Grief, How he broke the bread! With hands that bled, Then disappeared,
Good Grief, Jesus Alive! No need to strive, Chance to thrive, Jesus Alive!
Good Grief, No time to waste, Now we have a taste, To Jerusalem with haste,
A ‘well kent’ Lament Echoes through the years, How Long!? How long!?
Good, as is, the grief process, May it be a means to access visions and dreams of Christ’s Kingdom Come! Come Holy Spirit Come!