The lectionary reading for the Third Sunday in Easter in Year A is Luke 24.13–35, the very well known story of Jesus drawing alongside the two disciples on their journey to the village of Emmaus. The narrative is long and detailed, but it is also wonderfully engaging, not only beautifully structured, but full of irony and humour as well.
The story of the road to Emmaus is one of the most powerful stories in the Bible and certainly one of Luke’s greatest achievements as a storyteller (Mikeal Parsons, Paideia commentary, p 349).
For many readers, the story seems to bring together the classic pairing of word and sacrament, as Jesus both opens the Scriptures and then is ‘recognised in the breaking of the bread’. But reading the story carefully, in the context of Luke’s whole narrative, suggests something different.
I previously offered a written study of this passage in an earlier post that you can find here. This is my video study of the same passage; I hope you enjoy it!
I end by reading this sonnet, one of two on the Emmaus Road by Malcolm Guite:
And do you ask what I am speaking of
Although you know the whole tale of my heart;
Its longing and its loss, its hopeless love?
You walk beside me now and take my part
As though a stranger, one who doesn’t know
The pit of disappointment, the despair
The jolts and shudders of my letting go,
My aching for the one who isn’t there.
And yet you know my darkness from within,
My cry of dereliction is your own,
You bore the isolation of my sin
Alone, that I need never be alone.
Now you reveal the meaning of my story
That I, who burn with shame, might blaze with glory.
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