Monthly Archives: April 2020

Reflections on Luke 24 – The Road to Emmaus

What a difference a few weeks make. We have been living with Covid 19 for less than 2 months but these last weeks have changed our perspective profoundly, haven’t they?

I found myself listening to Sunday’s Gospel reading – Luke 24 – the road to Emmaus – in a way that was coloured by our current situation. So I was wondering if Cleopas and his companion were walking along the road maintaining social distance. Perhaps, I thought, the companion was Cleopas’ wife, Mary, and then they could have still walked together. But how different the story would have been, during this time of isolation. The stranger would have struggled to share the scriptures in a meaningful way, if they had had to maintain a conversation with a gap of 2 meters between them, and of course, there would have been no way Cleopas and his companion could have offered hospitality for the night to the stranger.

Of course I’m just being fanciful. Jesus was able to come alongside the two people and speak to them with love and concern – to listen to their pain and then share with them the hope of God’s overwhelming plan. Cleopas and his fellow traveller were eager to offer hospitality and draw their unknown companion of the road into their home and to their meal, so that in the sharing of the meal Jesus was revealed to them in his resurrection glory. And they could return to the crowded room where Jesus’ followers were congregated to share with them all the Easter joy.

While I’m being fanciful this story is still profoundly important to our time now.

Many of us feel as if we are journeying through this time alone – carrying the grief of families separated and the knowledge of loss and death close at hand. It is in these times that Jesus draws near to us – to walk along the way beside us, listening to our pain and, if we are willing to listen, help us learn and grow from this time. There are no rules of social isolation that prevent us from opening the doors of our lives to that welcome guest. Jesus comes to eat with us at every solitary meal we have – breaking bread for us and inviting us to share in the abundance that is his, and his alone, to offer.

With this in mind, remember that although you may not see him he is there beside you, listening, sharing, loving you and as you sit down to each meal through this time, remember that Christ is there, sharing with you, breaking the bread of his body for you so that you might share in his risen life.

Yours lord is the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour and the majesty

for everything in heaven and on earth is yours.

All things come from you, and of your own do we give you.

1 Chronicles 29:11

23rd April 2020

Although I’m really not sure that St. George should be the patron saint for England I was out, first thing this morning, changing the flag on the Woolpit flag pole from the union flag, which I’d flown for the Queen’s birthday, back to the St. George’s Cross. Then, at Morning Prayer, we had specific readings and a collect for George.

As he was, very probably, a martyr for Christ during the reign of the Emperor Dioclectian I am happy that we remember him as one of the early saints of the church, even if I think perhaps England should have Alban, Edmund or Cuthbert as its patron saint!

One of the readings for Morning Prayer is Ephesians 6: 10 – 20 which is Paul’s description of the PPE that all Christians should war.

He tells us to fasten the belt of truth around our waists, put on the breast plate of righteousness, shoes that make us ready to proclaim the good news of peace, take up the shield of faith, put on the helmet of salvation and then take hold of the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

As we read this reading we can imagine those on the front line of the NHS, in the ITUs around the country, putting on their face visors of salvation, tying their gowns of truth around their waists, their masks of courage over their mouths, the over shoes of readiness over their feet and taking up the tools of their work – not swords but instruments of healing, touched by God’s Spirit.

Perhaps it is one of the ways we can pray for them, in their tiring and relentless work.

There are, however, a couple of profound differences. The first, of course, is that there is no shortage of God’s heavenly PPE for us. He is always waiting for us to put on our armour and to entrust our lives to his enfolding.

The second is that we are called, when we have dressed ourselves in the armour of God, and taken the sword of the Spirit, to stand. To stand firm. It has been hard to have to watch others working themselves into exhaustion while we stay home, but it is in the staying put, the standing firm, we are serving God.

Dressing in the PPE of God we are to be prayer warriors, holding our ground, with quiet determination, praying for those around us, for our nation and for the world. Those in the front line of our NHS and care homes are having to face their battles but we, we are not fighting against the enemies of flesh and blood but against the cosmic powers of this present darkness and against spiritual forces. So put on your PPE and stand, in prayer and in love, knowing that what we are doing is as important as anything that can be done in this time.

Maybe St. George might be a good patron saint, after all, for he proved himself to be faithful to Christ, by standing firm before the evil he was facing.