​​​​​​​Reflection for Third Sunday of Easter

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Reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter 2020 

There are some who still feel uncomfortable in worship when handshakes are exchanged at The Peace. But, for me, the context was enriched when one person told me that it was important for them, as it was often the only physical contact they had with others in the course of a week.

For many, especially those who live alone, the lack of physical contact and nearness is heightened as a source of pain at this time.

The Easter walk of two of the disciples to Emmaus, in Luke’s Gospel, starts in despondency as they mourn the loss of Jesus to them. Then a stranger comes and walks with them. He journeys with them; he doesn’t intrude, but, joins in their conversation as they clearly offer him their hospitality. Who is he? He seems very out of touch about what’s been going on in Jerusalem.

The disciples get to Emmaus, invite the stranger in and when he breaks bread with them they recognise him as Jesus, and he disappears.

Why did they not recognise him earlier?

Were they so bound up with their grief and anxiety about what was going to happen next that they weren’t seeing clearly; they were only half aware?

The risen Jesus doesn’t appear in great glory and hype, he appears to his followers in places and situations where he was with them before – the seashore, an upper room, breaking bread. In his risen glory, he says ‘It’s me, I’m here again, it’s allright’.

Like those disciples, we might feel a certain absence of God’s presence with us at the moment. Things have changed and will not be the same again. It’s easy to be despondent.

Maybe the risen Jesus has been journeying with us, but, we might not have recognised him in these days? Ultimately, it’s in love given and received that he will be walking with us, and in unexpected and gracious acts of hospitality and care.

Even if it feels a little less recognisable than usual as we get used to this new journey, God’s loving presence in the risen Christ is as strong as ever.

‘Keep walking, keep talking, I’m listening, I’m with you’.

Canon Richard Mitchell


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