Cleopas’s thoughts, Easter dramatic reading — Tod Gobledale, UK

Luke 24:13 retold:
Late in the afternoon on the day of resurrection, two disciples walk from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus about seven miles away. As they walk, they talk about all the things that have happened. Along the way, a stranger joins them and asks, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’  Tradition tells us that one of those walking along the road is Cleopas, a follower of Jesus. Let us listen to his reflections.

Meditation of Cleopas:
I watch with my own eyes what they do to him. I don’t want people to think I’m associated with him, so, nervously, I stand a distance from the cross.

His death devastates us. We long for the one who will save Israel and all the world’s nations. We assumed it was him, all along.
Then we see him nailed to the cross, bruised and broken, his life seeping from his bleeding body. His deeds of power have underscored our certainty that the Messiah has arrived. His terrible death dashes our hopes.

Devastated, we slink away. Hopes and dreams shattered.

Now I’m in Emmaus. A strange and amazing thing happened earlier today. Listen to this…
We’re walking along the Emmaus road, when we encounter a traveller going our way. We must have looked quite aggrieved, for he asks about our sadness. We relate the week’s events, telling him of our friend’s death, of our shattered hopes.  When we arrive at our place, we invite him to take a break from his journey and stay with us. We prepare the table, setting out food and drink.

Then he does a strange thing. In our land, the custom is for the host to serve the meal. But this stranger serves us. He takes the bread, blesses and breaks it, and serves us.  It’s like a bolt of lightning as the truth breaks forth! As he shares the bread with us, our eyes are opened.

Then, just as fast, he is gone! We suddenly realize with unshakable certainty, this is Jesus, risen, alive, victorious! We know he is with us now, even though he has departed from us.

On that road to Emmaus, how did we not recognize him? Does sorrow blind us? Do our hearts, swelled with grief, prevent us from seeing the truth? Possibly.

Thinking back, it was in offering hospitality to the stranger, in the sharing of the bread, Jesus our risen Lord appears to us. I find it fascinating, that we see him most clearly when we cannot see him at all!  Our eyes are opened when we are not even looking.

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