The writer of the book of Hebrews (13:2) offers a thought to their readers, “Remember. Show hospitality to strangers – for many have entertained angels without knowing!”
Perhaps something like that thought was on the mind of the pair of Jesus’ disciples, walking the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Perhaps they had simply become interested in this stranger, a person well versed in the scriptures, a teacher with them when their beloved teacher had died. Perhaps they wanted to continue to argue, challenged by his words, “Oh, you thick-headed and hard-hearted people… weren’t you listening to him?!” For whatever reason, they offered him hospitality. They invited him to join them for a meal, and offered him safe space to rest.
They did that, not knowing who he was. He was a stranger. An unknown. Even with the conversation on the walk, they didn’t know who he really was.
It was in a moment of tangibility, a very human moment – when the stranger blessed and broke the bread – that they recognized the Holy. It was in the meal together that they recognized the stranger as Jesus. And then, in that moment of recognition, he “disappeared from their sight.”
Sometimes I wonder, when do we recognize that we’re walking with Jesus? When do we have that moment of recognition that we are immersed in the presence of the Divine? How often do we expect to have our eyes opened to God in the mundane – in the regular, every day, places and people in our lives?
Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Christ is speaking to us in words of challenge and in words of love. We need to be listening, watching, and inviting, Christ to dine with us every time we meet him.
Especially when we don’t realize that it’s him we’re inviting home.
Minister of Congregational Development
Image: “Road to Emmaus” by Alexandra Ross