What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Tom & Jerry, Superman, Indiana Jones, and Easter on the Road to Emmaus

This morning as grandparents were downstairs regaling our children with a Tom and Jerry video (which makes my son in particular laugh with such an innocent abandon that it makes me well up with joy every time I hear him) I was reading over the gospel accounts of Jesus' resurrection. Seemed like the right thing to do on Easter Sunday.

The Emmaus Road account from Luke is what struck me the most this morning. It's Easter Sunday, the women discover the empty tomb. The angels greet them ("why do you look for the living among the dead?" one of the greatest quotes in all of history) and tell them to go and tell the disciples.

The first time Jesus himself appears in Luke's account is to two followers on the seven-mile hike from Jerusalem to Emmaus. He appears as they're discussing the events of Good Friday and the strange report from the women about the empty tomb.

They don't recognize Jesus, but he spends the journey explaining to them (indeed, upbraiding them for their slowness to understand) the point of the Scriptures in connection with his death and now resurrection. They implore him to stay with them as they reach Emmaus, he breaks bread, they recognize him, he disappears.

As I read this account, tears came to my eyes. I've been wondering all day why. I think it's the amount of time Jesus spends with them.

Every other story post- resurrection is told rapid-fire. The appearances are brief and the conversations sparse--at least the parts that are recorded.

But here we have Jesus lingering for miles with two people (perhaps a married couple) who weren't even among the twelve. And he comes in the midst of sorrow and confusion and glimmers of hope and he speaks level-headed joyful news that cannot be taken away.

Jesus lingers here with two confused, earnest, sad, slow-to-understand people. He is like the loving parent bringing no-nonsense sense and infinite joy and love out of a world of bewildering pain.

When I was a kid it always made me sad when the hero of a movie couldn't stay. Superman had to leave the person he rescued, or Indiana Jones had to move onto his next adventure. I wanted him to stay, to get to know the people he rescued, to love on them a little bit. Especially if they were kids like me.

Jesus is the hero who lingers with the two on the road to Emmaus. He stays, he comforts, he corrects, he teaches, he loves and loves and loves on them.

In several of the gospel accounts, the fact that Jesus will not abandon or leave them is a major theme. "I will not leave you as orphans," Jesus says in John, "I will come to you." Jesus stays with the two at Emmaus.

We live our lives as if we were orphans, scratching out a living among the Ruins. But Jesus stays with you and I, in our slowness, in our bewildering pain, in our apathy. He stays and he pursues us to the end.

We were once orphans. Now we have the Father. We will never be alone, abandoned, forgotten, neglected or overlooked. Jesus has made sure of it. And He shall reign forever and ever. King of Kings. And Lord of Lords. He with us and us with him. Hallelujah!

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