Scripture Reading: Luke 24:13-35
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ –Luke 24:13-18
The experience of trauma imprints a permanent memory, which we sometimes erase from our consciousness often to have it reappear when least expected known as post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. Soldiers are all too well acquainted with it but those of us on the news periphery know it also. Where were you when Kennedy was shot or for the younger set on 9/11?
I was sitting at my desk at the State Capitol Sequoyah Office Building some 20 blocks from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office building on April 19, 1995 where the now dubbed Oklahoma City Bombing occurred. I honestly did not feel the shake of the building in my office but as if a conductor brought down a baton coordinating the playing of a first note, all the staff outside my office jumped up from their desks and cried out, “What was that?” None of our lives were ever the same again. Radios and TVs were immediately turned on and the horrid scene of a building destroyed appeared. A call went out for blood donors particularly for those of us with O- type. I ran to my car and drove to the closest donor center only to find a line two blocks long. The radio announced another one opening close by and the line was long there too but I joined it. It is beyond my imagination how the people of Syria and surrounding nations deal with such events daily with few resources left to help, not even enough time to bury their dead.
I also have trouble imaging rows of people hanging on crosses just outside my city executed for failure to follow the Roman rules. Some were no doubt what we might classify as criminals today. Others were just in the government’s way. Rome provided peace through violence; something we continue to practice today. Crucifixion was disconcerting on any day, disaster when the one on the cross was not only loved, but was also deemed the source of salvation for all.
The road to Emmaus represents the path we all choose to take once an immediate trauma concludes. How it impacts are lives and how open we are to seeking good after evil determines our futures and the futures of all we are called to love.
Prayer: Lord, as we travel toward Pentecost walk with us even when we do not recognize you. Kindle in our hearts the fire to purge evil from ruling us and fill us with your love as our source of strength. Amen.