Weekly Liturgy : April 17-23
The Road to Emmaus
13-14 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.
15-17 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.
18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”
19-24 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see him.”
25-27 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
28-29 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30-32 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”
33-35 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem, and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
When I read some parts of the Bible, I sure get the sense that God is angry, out for blood, demands sacrifice, and his happy to go to war with God’s enemies. And it seems God only likes those of us who are willing to do similar.
Then I get to the stories of Jesus. And Jesus is different. So I wonder what in the world to make of the parts of Jesus that don’t line up with the other stories about God. I think I would have fit in well with the two characters on the road to Emmaus.
(I also think Jesus would tell me what he told the others):
Instead of interpreting Jesus according to the other stories, interpret the other stories according to Jesus.
I suspect if we are willing to do this often enough, we’ll discover on the other side a God who really does look like Jesus. A God on the side of victims. A God who prefers the poor and powerless. A God who is compassionate and merciful, rather than vengeful. A God who loves us into healing, rather than hates us into submission. A God who does not go to war, but dies to unveil the absurdity of violence. A God who shows up on our own roads of doubt and sadness, wanting only to feed us.
I hope this version of God is the real one. And I hope I get to see this God next to me soon.
Outward Mindset Application
Frustrated about a problem at work? Think of one possible solution. Propose it to your supervisor!
Pathways Toward Centeredness
Caregiving (loving the world through loving others): Think of someone in your web of friendships who has been having a hard time lately. Invite them to join you for dinner this week.
Questions for Reflection
What do you most want to be true about God, but have the most difficulty believing? If Jesus showed up next to you, what questions would you most want to ask?
One of our community practices is to gather every Sunday morning for prayer, friendship, and conversation about the week’s Scripture text. Doors open at 10:30am for coffee and donuts. Our circle begins at 11:00am. We would love to see you there!
The Open Table (@ The old DMV)
2640 N Portland Rd
Salem, OR 97301
“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.
Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.