My all-time favorite Scriptural walk of faith is the bookend to the Gospel of Luke. In this story, two people — faces downcast, feet shuffling — are headed to a village called Emmaus. They’ve just heard the news: Jesus of Nazareth has been crucified.
A stranger joins them on the walk up the dusty road. And they begin to tell him about what has happened to Jesus. The two travelers are fully unaware that the stranger with them is, in fact, the risen Jesus.
After arriving in Emmaus, the travelers invite the “stranger” into their home for dinner, and he agrees. After dinner, their guest “took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:30-32).
I can relate. For years, Jesus walked alongside me, yet I treated him as a stranger. Today, I know that he was there on a walk to my own Emmaus; he was and continues to be the one constant in my life. When I came to realize who travels alongside me in this journey of life, my heart began to “burn within,” just as it did for the two Emmaus travelers.
This is a blog that will chronicle my own faith journey — through the bumps and into the dust, down to the valleys and up to the mountaintops. He’s beside me — when I get it right, and also when I completely blow it. And when I least expect it, there is God, in places I never saw Him before: In my inbox, on my deck, in a bathroom stall, for Pete’s sake.
Just to clarify, I’m not talking about seeing the face of Jesus in my overcooked pancake or finding an image of the Virgin Mary in my grilled cheese. That would be cool, and I could make a lot of money on eBay, (the grilled cheese fetched $28,000!), but that’s not what I’m talking about.
Here’s the real deal: God comes to us in ways we couldn’t have expected, if we’re willing to see with spiritual eyes.
Like an unexpected Jesus on a dusty road to Emmaus, the Risen Christ is walking alongside me.
Lord God, may I be granted the faith not to stay in the comfort of my own private Emmaus, but to return to the people, as the travelers did, to say “It is true! The Lord has risen … ” (Luke 24:34).