After Jesus was crucified, Luke (24.13-35) tells us that two disciples were walking to Emmaus when a stranger began to walk alongside them. They looked sad as they spoke about all that had happened: Jesus’ ministry and judgment, the crucifixion and the resurrection. The stranger inquired about their conversation, perhaps wondering why they looked sad when their story appeared to say that their friend was alive. The stranger chided them for their lack of faith and interpreted the prophets as speaking of the Messiah. Because it was late, the disciples invited the stranger to stay with them before continuing his journey. As he broke bread and blessed it, their eyes were opened and they saw that this stranger was in fact their friend, Jesus. They were so astonished that they immediately returned to Jerusalem to tell the others that Jesus lives.
We never know who will walk with us on our journey. When I went to the Holy Land, I wasn’t sure who any of my travel companions were. Though we had been meeting sporadically for a year, I still felt like I didn’t know them very well. Strangers. For an introvert, that is difficult space.
However, on that trip we travelled and talked and shared a lot of meals together. Each night at dinner and every morning at breakfast and all day long as we travelled around the countryside, they taught me things about church and faith and life that I sometimes have trouble believing. Each night at dinner, as we broke bread, God’s presence was revealed.
One of my companions on this trip was Danielle Shroyer, the former pastor of Journey, another emergent church in Dallas. Though younger than me, she has been at this for a long time and was on the forefront of the emergent conversation. I learned so much from her and gained a true and faithful friend. She’s also pretty damn smart. And funny. She is passionate about church and faith and justice. Being around Danielle makes it seem like this little old world might have a chance.
You can see for yourself this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, because I will be out of town at the Alliance of Baptists Annual Gathering. I am sad that I will miss this conversation with Danielle, but I’m also glad for a rare chance to connect with other progressive Baptists. The Annual Gathering is also a spot where it seems like this little old world has a chance. Please pray for me on my journey as I will pray for you this week. May we all meet some strangers that we come to know as the presence of God in our lives.
Grace & Peace,