Homily – the Road of Emmaus
Welcome to the Third Sunday of Easter – today we should have been at Breckles Church and so our prayers are with the congregation there. Last week our choir members came together for tea and cakes at Henry Hardiment’s home in Thompson but it actually it was on Zoom, and they could see one another and see his beautiful garden,
My grandson starts school in September and he will be just 4 years of age when he attends St Mary’s Community Primary School at Beetley. He begins with so many blessings, but unlike his grandfather, I doubt that he will struggle at school. Although I went to a lovely private Preparatory School no one knew until later in life that I had a mild form of dyslexia and everything was a struggle. However, with kind teachers and small classes, I gradually learnt to read and understand mathematics and eventually, after a lot of hard work, a few tears and persistence, ended up a priest! Today I still put words and numbers the wrong way round, so please note, it’s not just my bad typing!
In many ways I think that God was preparing me for ministry, because I would then be able to help those who took time to understand. This 3rd Sunday of Easter tells the moving story of the ‘Emmaus Road’ and two disciples meeting Jesus along the way. I think that this story by St Luke, no doubt told to him by others in the early church and written down by Luke for his Gospel, is a model of those coming to faith. It takes time for the ‘penny to drop’.
Often in Church, people attended Alpha courses which are intended for those who want to know more about the Christian faith, but I have also run a number of Emmaus Courses which I think are actually better, because they lead new Christians into a deeper faith and help them to work on their own until the ‘penny drops’.
There is no doubt that Luke was a very clever writer and he tells the story of two disciples leaving Jerusalem for Emmaus, having their lives in turmoil following the events of Christ’s crucifixion and possible resurrection, and not knowing what to believe. The story tells, really, about conversion, and it begins with instruction.
Jesus, the unknown traveller, tells them the story of the predictions of the coming of Messiah from the Old Testament to now. We all need instruction, and although Confirmation classes are useful, often these were long ago and we need to keep ourselves afresh. Clergy go on courses, have training days and go on retreats. At times these it can be very disruptive because you have so much to do, especially if unlike me, you are full time. But these days are important and every 3 years, when the Bishop sees you, as part of your training he or she will ask what courses you have been on.
So, if you are reading this homily, have you thought about attending a Diocesan course, or asking whether we could create one in the Wayland Group when everything is back to normal? Please let me know. The Emmaus Course is a good start.
After instruction Jesus joins them for a Eucharistic meal, and it is then that their eyes are opened and the ‘penny drops’. And so, after instruction, we need to have worship and especially fellowship. Worshipping at the moment at home is fine but not the same as coming together with the family of the church. We need one another.
So, as we have time to think and in many ways to meditate, I hope that we all use this time to strengthen our faith. I do believe that those who will emerge from weeks of isolation may be different for the rest of their lives. What seemed so important before is not quite so important now.
Finally, I would advise that you think about following our routine and that is making Sunday special. During the week we have lots to do and thankfully a lovely house and garden, but on Sunday we take time out for worship, watching the church service on TV and using this short service. Then we have plenty of rest, do some reading, have a special meal and watch anything on TV which is not about the present problem. We end by commending everyone we know to God in prayer and go soundly to sleep. Maybe it is worth trying. I have to add that during the evening, even on a Sunday, I usually have a G & T. Well I can’t be holy all the time!
Keep safe but make every day special – especially Sunday.