One of my colleagues sees the Emmaus incident as central to a true understanding of the celebration of the Lords Supper, aka Holy Communion, aka Eucharist. It is in the stranger’s breaking and blessing of bread that the crucifixion and resurrection in the midst of a questing and believing household of faith becomes real.
Still on leave, I was interested to hear what the church I visited yesterday morning had to say about it. Wesley Church, in the heart of Perth, is sometimes my place of pilgrimage when I have a free Sunday. The use of the arts, musical and visual, gives a nice even flow to the “worshipful conversation” that takes place there.
Not to be disappointed, I listened to the Rev’d Don Dowling reflect on four main points he drew from the Emmaus journey (see Luke 24:13-35)
- Luke was at pains to demonstrate to his hearers, a generation after the event, that the Risen Christ is discerned and tangible in the midst of their faith community.
- The faith community, seen in the two travelers, is exposed and vulnerable to opposing elements and values that would seem to defeat them. The stranger remonstrates with them, stirring the memory of their core story and summoning them to active engagement with it.
- It is the community gathered at the table that discerns the Risen Christ in the “breaking of bread.”
- Cleopas and his companion are not part of the original Twelve. The Risen Christ is often to be found amongst ordinary folk beyond the “purple circle” or “holy huddle.”