EMMAUS. EVENING. Seven miles outside Jerusalem so a bit of a stiff walk beyond where all the religious action’s at. If Jerusalem’s a “vision of peace” then Emmaus, this night, even if all-of-a-flutter, is at peace. Here’s an ordinary, homey, domestic scene at evening. Lovely name for home, Emmaus. In Hebrew: חמת Hammat, meaning “warm spring”.
“Warm spring”. Like the name of one of the much loved guest-houses near the beaches where we (you, and me) laughed away carefree childhood holidays. Conjures an image of Easter, though there hadn’t been such an Easter as ours when the village was named; so just “warm spring” then, and what, outside high days and holidays, we might call “ordinary supper”. Bread on the table, and something to drink. We know the story. “Their eyes were opened and they recognised him in the breaking of the bread”. (Luke 24.31)
Here, in our world, where hearts are aching, and some are breaking, and boys are fighting (too often about religion), and girls are weeping, and the young are in debt, and parents despairing, and old bones are creaking, and we all look more and more alike the older we get, we must stop, look and listen to the sounds of a warm spring, (welling up within us) and pray that our eyes be opened as theirs were, and that we, like them, recognise Risen Life, and rising, in our ordinary baking, and love-making, and suppers, though the transient Jesus of Nazareth be “vanished from their (and our) sight”.
Ordinary supper. Ordinary bread. Ordinary life. Warm spring. Every day. Every place. Always an Easter. Mystical union, communion, recognised in the taking, the blessing, the breaking and the giving – for the whole of ordinary humankind. If our eyes were only opened.