Thursday 6th August Basis of Union 22
St Luke 24:13-35
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the 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?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Some are called to the Ministry of church related community work. After approved preparation and training, they may be called to be Church Related Community Workers in a post approved by the United Reformed Church, are then commissioned to the office of Church Related Community Worker and inducted to serve in a particular post for a designated period. This commissioning and induction shall be in accord with Schedules D & F. Church Related Community Workers are commissioned to care for, to challenge and to pray for the community, to discern with others God’s will for the well-being of the community, and to endeavour to enable the church to live out its calling to proclaim the love and mercy of God through working with others in both church and community for peace and justice in the world. Their service may be stipendiary or non-stipendiary, and in the latter case their service is given within the area of a synod and in a context it has approved. (22)
The ministry of Church Related Community Work has been like walking numerous Emmaus Roads in all sorts of locations and contexts. I have walked alongside individuals, groups, communities and encouraging the Church to do the same.
Many of these folks, like the disciples were often broken, grieving, feeling that there was little, if anything they can do to change their situation and that of their communities. They have stood still, paralysed, frozen, looking sad, feeling lost and helpless. So, I have travelled with them, listening to and embracing their stories – never denying, correcting or changing any of the narratives and always waiting until their stories come to an end. I have tried (and sometimes failed!) to resist the temptation to interrupt them or tell them what I think they should do. Even when I think that we may have been heading down a cul-de-sac, I have stayed with them – sometimes reluctantly! When we have found ourselves in unfamiliar territory (never admitting that we could be lost), we have worked out a route together.
Because through the journeying and listening to each other comes the realisation that the answer is and, always has been, right there amongst and within them. After years of being told what is best for them by professionals and despite what messages they may have been given by society and the world around them, they come face to face with the reality that they have the gifts and talents. Gifts and talents that can transform their lives and communities in the ways that they, not others, deem appropriate.
The journeys have always been two-way processes. At times, things have not been easy and there have been many bumps in the road plus a few near crashes. But along the way I have found myself being challenged and changed by the adventures with my co-travellers. Ultimately, together we have been able to discover the transformative power of God – often hidden in plain sight.
Boundless and transformative God,
teach us to be good co-travellers.
Help us to know
when to do justice,
how to love kindness,
and remind us to walk humbly,
always with You.