Luke 24:13-35 (NRSV)
Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia! We have just experienced the joy of the Resurrection of Our Lord, and now we move forward in the season of Easter, living into the reality that we are a resurrection people.
We know the whole story, but it wasn’t easy for the first disciples, represented in this story by Cleopas and his companion. For them, their expectations, their reality, was shattered just a few days before.
“But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:21)
Despair and confusion hung over them like a dark cloud. Even the good news proclaimed to the (male) disciples by some of Jesus’ female disciples that very morning was not believed. “But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” (Luke 24:11). God chose a second time in Luke to give news of cosmic importance to a group of people least likely to be believed, shepherds at Jesus’ birth, and women at his resurrection. Were Cleopas and his companion in this story “kept from recognizing” Jesus (Luke 24:16b) by their own despair, prejudices, or disbelief, or was it a supernatural occurrence?
One of the important points of this story is that even in the midst of despair, prejudice, and disbelief, Jesus shows up and reveals himself to his followers. They may have given up on Jesus, but Jesus did not give up on them.
This is a story tailor-made for faith formation. Jesus teaches his followers a Bible study as they have fellowship time together.
Here are some thoughts as you prepare to teach, preach (to adults and children), and lead worship:
- Follow Jesus’ example. Guide participants of any age through Moses and the prophets, finding Jesus in the Scriptures.
- Walk together. Seriously, go for a walk as a class, small group, or during the children’s sermon. Help participants imagine and discuss what the disciples were feeling on that road to Emmaus.
- Eat together. Eating together, either in the mystical reality of the Lord’s Supper, in a mundane snack, or during fellowship time, can be a powerful act of sharing and faith. It is a concrete, sensory-rich experience that when combined with conversations about faith, incorporates our whole selves in community.
This week’s FREE resource is an activity designed specifically for upper elementary-school students (but can be adapted for any age) that focuses us in on the roller coaster of emotions felt by the disciples in this story. It comes from our Living the Word: Kids (3rd-6th) curriculum, which provides weekly lessons covering each Sunday of the Narrative Lectionary year with a large variety of activities to accommodate the span of different learning and teaching styles.
-Gregory Rawn (Publisher)