During this time of social distancing you may wish to use this scripture meditation for an e-conference small group or alone as a personal devotion. Give yourself the time to process the changes you are facing and the care you require.
The walks are a welcome relief. They carve out a path between the widening banks of sublime tranquility and gut-wrenching fear.
…each step is a breath, a connection with life, the thing we know so many are fighting for.
…each step is a risk, a movement away from safety, the thing we are being warned against.
…each step is an act of hope, an effort of mind and body, to trek through the terrain of unknowns.
The two travellers on their way to Emmaus were frightened and confused, and so what did they do? They talked. Jesus entered into their conversation and encouraged them to talk even more. We too are making a journey of loss and facing unknowns. We, too, are being encouraged to talk.
Beginning of the meeting
Read the reflection above. This Sunday we hear the story of the Road to Emmaus. Let the words, actions, themes and metaphors connect with the feelings and events of your life. Now quiet your thoughts, still your body, and be open to Jesus who joins you in this journey.
Luke 24:13-21 New Revised Standard Version
13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 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 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, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.
If you are in an e-conference, reflect on each question for a few moments in silence, then invite discussion. Help the group identify common themes and issues. If you are alone, you may wish to record your reflections in a journal. You may wish to share your thoughts, questions and insights in the “reply” space below.
- Jesus wanted to know what the two travellers were talking about. What things are you talking a lot about these days?
- When Jesus asked Cleopas and his companion what they were talking about, they stopped and felt sadness. Take a moment and check in emotionally. What emotions are you feeling right now?
- What dreams and hopes are you beginning to see diminish?
- What new dreams and hopes are beginning to take shape?
Almighty God, thank you for not abandoning me on this journey. I bring you my concerns which are___________________________________.
I had hoped_______________________________________________.
I open myself up to your dream. Enter into a moment of silence and be still in God’s loving presence. Let me be an instrument of your peace. In and through Christ’s love and empowered by the Spirit. Amen.
Prayer Walk. If you are physically able, perhaps you might go on a prayer walk. This form of prayer is good for those who prefer to connect with God in nature or who find sitting still difficult. A prayer walk is different than a power walk in that you intentional engage with God in the space around you. It is always good to remember that we do not bring God along on our walk. God’s redeeming love is already active and at work in our neighbourhoods and we are simply asked to notice and join in.
- Determine a route. Dress appropriately for the weather. Make sure you have suitable walking shoes.
- Stand at your door and say a prayer to begin your journey. It can be as simple as “Go before me, O God.”
- As you walk by homes and buildings say a prayer of blessing on the people who inhabit those buildings. Given our present circumstances, pray for those who are struggling with finances or who are trapped in homes of violence or abuse, for families challenged with online education, for the elderly, disabled and for those who are alone.
- Where it feels appropriate, perhaps at a park or along a common space, stop for a moment and be silent. Listen and allow your senses to take in all the sounds, sights and smells of the space. Close your eyes for a moment and offer a prayer for insight.
- Notice the beauty in nature, the faces and gestures of passers-by and the messages of love and pain that surround you. Ask yourself where God is in all that you experienced.
- Conclude with a prayer of thanksgiving as you conclude your journey back at your door.
- Take a moment to record your thoughts, insights and experiences in a journal.
We are here together, and we can do this because Christ dwells within us.