When he was at table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:30-32)
Our gospel lesson for this coming Sunday is another of the resurrection appearances that we explore throughout Eastertide. In this case, it is what occurs when Jesus appears to the disciples in Jerusalem from the gospel of Luke (the sister story from this past Sunday). It follows directly after a much more famous resurrection account – the road to Emmaus.
Many of us know the story: how two of the disciples were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on Easter Sunday, talking with broken hearts about all that has occurred and wondering if it just might be possible that Jesus has been raised. Then the risen Christ comes and walks with them – but they do not recognize him. That is, they do not know him until he joins them for supper and breaks bread and gives it to them. Then, in almost ghostly fashion, Jesus disappears from their sight. They run back to Jerusalem and tell the other disciples all that they have heard from their Lord who was walking with them on the road.
In the moment immediately following their recognition and Christ’s disappearance, they look back on the day’s events and realize that their hearts were burning in Jesus’ presence. Hopefully all of us understand that this is not what we think of as heartburn, but instead that sensation all of us feel when something amazing is occurring around us. That sense of the possibilities for the future. It is that same trembling with anticipation that we found on Easter morning in the gospel of Mark.
Now, it is true that we are not likely to have the precise experience of these disciples’ walk to Emmaus. However, that does not mean that we cannot find the same sensation when we find God at work in our lives. Sometimes it is in a deepening understanding of God’s revelation through the scriptures that we study together. Other times it comes when we go beyond our comfort zones and find new ways to embrace and serve humanity, fellow children of God, around us. And still there are times that will come when we are clearing our minds in meditation and silence in order to simply rest with God and open ourselves to Christ’s call to act.
The important thing to remember is that the opportunities are countless and all around us. If you are wanting to feel that same burning heart that the disciples’ felt, there is no time to lose. Christ is loose in the world and God’s Spirit is working all around us. The only question is, will you let go of your fear of the unknown and unimaginable, and listen to the opportunities God is speaking to your own burning heart?