Day 30 Sacred Season 2015
DAY 30. 8th July Hearts on fire: Lk24:13-35; Eph1:18 Rev Dr Robert Brennan
They asked each other, âWere not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us (Luke 24:32 NIV)
Basis of Union Paragraph 5. âThe Uniting Church acknowledges that the Church has received the books of the Old and New Testaments as unique prophetic and apostolic testimony, in which it hears the Word of God and by which its faith and obedience are nourished and regulated. When the Church preaches Jesus Christ, its message is controlled by the Biblical witnesses. The Word of God on whom salvation depends is to be heard and known from Scripture appropriated in the worshipping and witnessing life of the Church.â
It is so, so easy to become entangled in the events of the day. The reported or too often misreported events around us move us to sadness and incomprehension. The world and its seemingly insoluble problems move us to despair and the counsels of despair. Walking to Emmaus, the two must have been in deep shock and grief and not yet ready to wonder how they might live in a world where their most cherished dreams and hopes have been shattered.
Sadly we know from experience that people who have gone through profoundly distressing events like these often have profoundly changed lives filled with cynicism, hurt and bearing the scars of the past. When such trauma is linked to their faith it is common to see people reject all they ever learnt and try something new. Their expectations of God are reduced to the limits of what they can now safely imagine. In reality their faith in an all-powerful deity is too only being able to see a âGodâ who is not great. Our pain and circumstances make it impossible to see the God who is really there. We declare to ourselves and possibly to God, âNo! You cannot be like I was taught!â
Alas, like the pair on the road to Emmaus, we too in our pain cannot see the one who is in plain sight. This pair is given a marvelous gift. They could have so easily rejected it, saying we hurt too much to talk about our loss. They could have missed the ahah! moment if they failed to ask the âstrangerâ in. These would have been normal reactions. When we are disillusioned in hurt and pain it is all too easy to ignore the gift of God which will enable us to see again unlimited hope in Christ.
The pair listened to the man retell the story of Godâs relationship with his people and the hope of salvation. All this they knew that they knew. Why was this man telling them this again? âWe know this.â They listened without really listening. Why? They needed to relearn or rather to see it all afresh from a new vantage point. It is only after the moment of insight do they begin to realise that what they thought that they knew about God was remarkably less than what God was actually on about. In the moment of insight their grief and pain is turned around and their faith renewed.
The end result is a faith renewed and deepened and transformed by the fire of God burning within them. Rather than living with the pain, confusion and disappointment they find something new. It would have been so easy to have gone on redefining their hope to be not more than their disappointment could bear. It would have been easy to lower their expectations of life with God and to reject and even despise those who still enthusiastically treasured God. That may well have been the likely outcome if God had not directly intervened, repeatedly, at length and hammering home what should have been obvious in the act of breaking bread.
If we find it hard to see such a great a hope do not despair. It took a lot to get the pair on the road to Emmaus to the moment of insight. May we finally hear Godâs re-explanation of Christâs story and may our hearts burn within from the encounter.
Prayer : Lord may we hear your truth for us afresh. Make our hearts burn within and change the whole world.
Pray for: partner – The Church of Christ in Thailand Working group on relations with other faiths