21 April 2014

Home Is Where the Body of Jesus Is

Disciples of Emmaus, you know the things that have happened, concerning Jesus of Nazareth, both the Cross and the Resurrection.  By His Cross He has redeemed you, forgiven all your sins, and conquered the power of death over you.  And in His Resurrection, He has opened heaven to you, and poured out His Spirit and His Life upon you.

Why, then, are you sometimes so sad?  Sometimes frightened, sometimes angry.  Why are you often so foolish and slow of heart to believe the Gospel?

You are caught for now in a time between, on a journey to your true home.  You are torn between death and life, between sin and faith, between what you know and what you can and cannot see with your eyes.  Torn between heaven and earth.

And your senses too easily trick you and fool you; so that earthly things seem powerful, glorious, and heavenly, whereas heavenly things seem ghostly, ghastly, and hard to comprehend or bear.

You live by faith, and not by sight, along the way, and, as such, your one real recourse is the Word of God: The Holy Scriptures of the Prophets and Apostles; the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded by His Holy Evangelists; the Word of Christ Himself, the Word made Flesh.

Avail yourself of that Word.  Speak it to your neighbor, and ask that it be spoken to you.  Confess it and pray it as you go about your day, as you rise up in the morning, and as you go to bed again each night.  In particular, give attention to the preaching of the Gospel, the forgiveness of sins.

It may sometimes seem sort of pointless and useless to “talk about Jesus” in the face of all the hurts and disappointments that wear you out and weigh you down.  If that sounds impious to say, even sacrilegious, still, you know that it can feel that way, and that you often live as though it were so.

There are those days when you can barely keep yourself going, one foot in front of the other; and you may not feel like talking anymore, and you really don’t want to hear it, not even about Jesus.  That’s one of the main reasons it’s so important that you not go it alone; so that you do not spiral into a silence of the Word of God, or, what is worse than silence, the constant buzz and white noise of your own inner dialogue, which does not believe but doubts and denies the Word of the Lord.

Despite your sadness, and whatever you may be thinking or feeling at any given point, it is in the speaking of His Word, in the “talking about Jesus,” that the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Himself draws near and travels with you.  And by His active presence, in and with His Word, and by His gracious Spirit, He opens the Scriptures to you.

He opens your ears to hear, and He opens your heart and mind to comprehend and believe the Gospel; to hear and receive the forgiveness of all your sins, which is the solution to your doubts and fears, the remedy to every infirmity of heart and mind, of body, soul, and spirit.

Not only that, but He with His Gospel brings you home, that is, to your true home, which is with Him.  In fact, although it may seem as though He were coming to be your guest, He is actually the Host who takes you in and cares for you and serves you at His Table, from His own hand.

With His Word and Spirit, He comes to make His home with you here, in order to make your home with Him, already now in His Church on earth, and thereby also in the resurrection of your body to the life everlasting of His Kingdom in heaven.

Here at His Altar, where He tenderly invites you to recline and take your rest at His lavish Table, He takes the bread, He gives thanks, and He gives to you what everyone is looking for and needs: Not just an empty tomb, and more than the news of the Resurrection.  Here you have the Body of Jesus in the Breaking of the Bread, in the distribution of the Holy Communion.

And with that, dear friends of Christ, disciples of Emmaus, you are at home!

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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