News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland
Many people today claim to be spiritual but not religious. It as being religious is a question of faith is less a question of having faith or not and how its ritualized; whereas spirituality is more about perceiving a presence that is already there. Does the presence of Christ or God in our life have to be visible in order to be real? Is the movement of faith more about discovering that God is real or is it more about recognizing that God is already present?
Luke is the only gospel writer to tell this story of the two un-named pilgrim-disciples whose eyes are opened to what already is as they walk and talk about what was on the way to Emmaus. The story harkens back to the remembering of the women in 20:6 and the surprise and amazement (whether that be incredulity and/or belief) of Peter in 20:12. This retelling of the story of the Way to Emmaus is a story that tells our own story of the Way of Faith. Luke emphasizes Jesus as the suffering Messiah who liberates and heals all people, in conformity with the poetic promises of the Prophets and the accomplishment of the Torah Law. The risen Chris is really present and not always visible (in how we expect).
God doesn’t just appear out of thin air. God isn’t simply a way of thinking that we must find and master. Luke talks of God walking with us, coming near. The narrative tension in his retelling of this story unveils the tension we face in our own lives of faith. We know what’s happening to these two disciples while they don’t. More often than not, we remain unaware of what’s happening in our own lives until later. It’s often a word, a smell, an action, a sound, a relationship that jogs our memory so that we can see what was there and what is present. Luke presents his theological vision of faith as one of walking, talking, remembering and making sense of things together.
The center of the story is the relation of the testimony of the women “Jesus is alive” in verse 23. It’s surrounded by the bewilderment of the disciples told in 19-24 and then followed by the revealing explanation of Jesus in 25-27. The slow progression of the opening of the eyes of the disciples builds to the crescendo of them offering hospitality to this stranger, and then seeing and not seeing the risen Christ in the breaking of the bread – the exact words from the story of the first communion meal in Luke 22. The movement of hospitality and open relationship seems to hearken to the teaching of Matthew 25:31-46.
Questions for going deeper: