Encountering the Divine in Our Daily Walks

Rev. Bradley Swire   -  

In our lives, much like the two men walking towards Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35, we often find ourselves caught up in intense conversations about the events that shake our world. These discussions can become so absorbing that we might not even notice when someone joins in, asking, “What are you talking about?” Imagine this in a modern setting—perhaps you’re at a coffee shop discussing the latest news, engrossed in the details, when someone overhears and inquires about the situation. It’s a common scene, one that speaks to our deep engagement with current events and our sometimes surface-level engagement with those around us.

The disciples on the road to Emmaus were discussing the most earth-shattering news of their lives—the crucifixion and reported resurrection of Jesus, whom they had hoped would be the Messiah to deliver Israel. Their conversation was laden with confusion and sorrow as they tried to make sense of the events. When Jesus, unrecognized by them, joined their conversation, he asked them to recount what had happened. This interruption by Jesus mirrors moments in our own lives where, caught up in our narratives and perspectives, we often overlook the presence of the divine walking beside us.

Jesus’s response to the disciples’ lack of recognition was poignant. He called them “foolish” and “slow of heart,” not as insults but as a wake-up call to deeper understanding. These terms, rooted in Greek, suggest a lack of comprehension rather than a lack of intelligence. Jesus was urging them to see beyond the immediate tragedies and to grasp the fulfillment of prophecy and the larger narrative of God’s redemption at work.

In our discussion of tragedies—be they personal, national, or global—we often focus on the immediate suffering and the visible chaos. However, Jesus’s teachings and the scriptures invite us to look beyond the immediate to the eternal truths that govern our faith. The scriptures from Isaiah and the stories from Exodus that Jesus referred to were not just ancient texts but were alive and speaking directly to the events they were living through. They were about Jesus himself—the Lamb whose sacrifice was prefigured in the Passover.

The despair and confusion that marked the journey to Emmaus are emotions we are familiar with. Yet, this story doesn’t just share a narrative of confusion and revelation; it invites us into an experience of recognition and trust. It reassures us that, despite our misgivings and the seeming opacity of our situations, God is ever-present and deeply invested in the minutiae of our lives. By choosing to trust in God’s proven credibility, we take a risk. This risk involves reorienting our lives, potentially changing how we live and perceive the world around us.

Today, you might be wrestling with your own road to Emmaus—feeling abandoned, frustrated, or confused because life hasn’t turned out as you planned. The challenge and the invitation from the Emmaus story is to recognize the presence of Christ walking with us. Even when we are not aware, He is at our side, ready to make our hearts burn within us as we realize the truth and the depth of His commitment to us.

As we continue our discussions, our journeys, and our reflections, let’s not miss the Christ walking beside us, ready to reveal the deeper truths beneath our everyday conversations. Let us open our hearts to see and understand more than the immediate; let’s perceive the divine narrative unfolding in our lives.