Tuesday, March 12, 2019

EmmDev 2019-03-12 [Lent2019] pIlgrim - Initiate caring conversations.

pIlgrim - Initiate caring conversations.

Although "I" normally means "me", the first "i" in Pilgrim is outward looking and challenges us to "Initiate caring conversations: Ask people how they really are and really listen to their answers and engage with what they say."

After Jesus was crucified and buried, two of His followers stayed in Jerusalem on the Sabbath (Saturday) and on Sunday started walking to Emmaus. We know that one of them was called Cleopas and some scholars suggest that the other was his wife Mary who is mentioned in John's gospel.

They were heart-broken at the loss they had suffered. Jesus joins them on the road, but they are kept from recognising Him. He interrupts their conversation, pretending not to know what has happened.

When Cleopas gives a partial answer, Jesus takes the opportunity to press in deeper and ask a further question. Their answer, while stating the facts, also reveals their dreams, hopes and loyalty: "...but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel."

This is a risky statement. They "out" themselves as followers of Jesus and this could land them in hot water. But there is something about the way in which Jesus (who is a total stranger in their eyes) interacts with them that makes them comfortable enough to share their heart and soul with Him.

As we walk on the road of life, we will encounter people who carry heartache, a sense of being overwhelmed, the burden of loneliness or profound spiritual pain in their lives.
What if we took the time and trouble to listen carefully and engage with care and love? It means asking more than just "How are you?" and expecting the standard answer. Like Jesus we may need to ask a second or maybe even a third question.

Jesus did it and it led to a conversation that "set their hearts on fire."

He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"
19 "What things?" he asked.
32 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?"      (Luke24:17-32)