In the course of a day, I am forever turning the volume up and down on my cell phone depending on the situation I’m in. I don’t want the phone to “ring” when I’m somewhere, doing something where a cell phone going off would be disruptive. I’ve had this new cell phone for about 6 months and I’m still trying to figure out how it works. One of the most frustrating aspects of the phone is the button on the left side of the base. This slightly raised feature can control the volume…up or down but it doesn’t work seamlessly. I never seem to be able to get my finger positioned just right to move the volume in the direction I want it to go and I usually have to make more than one attempt at it before I can get the volume to the level I want it to be.
The other day, as I held my cell phone in hand, I was grumbling to myself, thinking how much easier and more efficient it would be if the pictured volume slide on the face of the cell phone would just simply respond to a finger swish across the bar – right swish to increase volume, left to decrease it instead of having to use that infernal button on the side of the phone. I was thinking this and actually talking out loud to the phone saying, “Why can’t you just work like an IPad and push the slider across when I move my finger like this?” I demonstrated…to the phone, of course…what I meant and low and behold, the darn thing did exactly what I had just said it ought to do…the pictured volume slide slid left to right. Not really believing what I was seeing I swished the volume bar back and forth several times while laughing at my own ignorance. The solution to my dilemma was right in front of me and I hadn’t recognized it…for 6 months! Even with the evidence in front of me, I was suitably skeptical since I apparently felt the need to do the “doubting Thomas thing” and so I pushed my finger back and forth over the slide bar until I finally realized, “Yep, I’m an idiot.”
Six months hadn’t lapsed since the tragic crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Actually, just days had passed but the disciples those who had followed Jesus were still lost in their agony over his death. They had heard the tales others told of having seen Jesus, of the empty tomb and they more than capable of telling the stories…after all, they did share what they knew, thought they knew or at least, had hoped they knew with the passing stranger on the road to Emmaus. They could and did share the sayings of Christ but they couldn’t see or recognize the essence of what they were sharing, which was really the most important part. They were telling the stories of Christ to Christ; they just didn’t know it and they didn’t get it until Christ broke the bread and lifted the cup. Now the body and blood of Jesus was evident to them as was the truth. Christ was alive and was with them. Had always been with them and would always be with them. As author Yvette Schock describes the conversation the disciples were holding with the unexpected companion on the Emmaus road, “they are trying to discern the necessary things to help them understand what has happened – and what they are to do in the wake of loss and disappoint.”[i] Just as we tend to do in our losses and disappointments, we fall back on what is familiar. We return or try to return to our routines. We escape back into our comfortable places and space and push down or try to, the pain of what has happened to us and around us.
Schock, reflecting on this passage offers this thought:
“When a fellow traveler approaches and asks what they are discussing, they list for him those ‘things about Jesus of Nazareth’ that seem most important: Jesus’ identity and betrayal, their hopes, the rumors of his resurrection, and the tomb- found empty, just as the women reported. It is a decent summary of the important details, but the traveler finds it lacking. He reminds them at length of the promises of redemption found in the scriptures. Yet the disciples still do not recognize that the one speaking to them is Jesus. They look, but do not see.”[ii]
Two weeks after Easter and perhaps we too look and do not see. For most of us, there have been many Easters coming and going, many opportunities to walk with Jesus and know Christ in a personal, relational way. There have been and continue to be opportunities to share not only our church beliefs but our faith, our strength, our hands and feet and souls for just issues and needy causes. Like the disciples, the meal we share today, helps to reopen our shuttered eyes and really see Jesus Christ…risen, whole, healing and life to us so we can fully live as followers of the One who gave his all for us and in so doing, invites us to give our all for God, for our families, our friends and for those who have so little yet need someone to care. May we walk with Christ, eyes open, hearts touched, and lives given. Amen.