Hello, all! I’m back from vacay and can see that you all survived without a lectionary post last week. Good for you–so did I!
This week it is all about the Emmaus story for me. Aside from the fact that this story shows up every time we are at table in my tradition, it is so rich that there are enough sermons in it to preach it every year, in my humble opinion.
This year, the Incarnation has become very real for me, and for my congregation as well, through death and tragedy. I had one gentleman born to Eternal Life right before Holy Week, and one three days ago, the day before I got back from vacation. (That’s 2 in 15 days, with a vacation in between, if you’re keeping track!) That is a whole lot of death for a small congregation. The fact that these deaths occurred so close to Easter is not lost on us.
What jumps out at me, this extremely early Tuesday morning, is the fleshy-ness of this encounter in Luke. Jesus talks about his own flesh, that he is not some apparition, but is in fact appearing to the friends in the flesh. He eats to prove it.
I spent Monday afternoon with a grieving widow whose main concern for her husband–the one she could express to us, anyway–was that he be buried in an overcoat. It seems he was cold most of the time in his latter years, and she didn’t want him to be cold anymore. Clearly this fear appears to be connected to some inability on her part to disconnect the spirit with the flesh. No amount of gentle arguing by her kids that “Dad isn’t cold anymore, Ma.” would reassure her. Because to the widow, the husband she knew and loved was the husband in the flesh.
Jesus wanted those friends to make some connection to him that was tangible, concrete, and on their own terms. That point of connection was the flesh. That seems to be what the Incarnation was all about, in my opinion. If we take the Incarnation seriously, we conclude that we all have that same point of connection with Christ, and the life of Christ is not just some story, but our story as well.
What are your homiletical thoughts this week, preachers and students of the Word?