Daily Devotion 19 April 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

WALKIN’ BACK TO HAPPINESS (title of 1961 song by Helen Shapiro)

Luke 25: 13-17 ‘On the Road to Emmaus’

13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’

Now that table tennis, swimming, a yoga class and ‘Walking Football’ are not possible at present, my daily exercise is now a brisk 45-minute walk around our locality. ‘Walking Football’ has been replaced by ‘Walking Dodgems’, as I seek to keep my two-metre distance from any approaching human! Diversionary and evasive tactics are the name of this game! As I cross streets to avoid other walkers, I feel a bit like the Priest and the Levite in the Good Samaritan story, who ‘passed by on the other side’. Speaking of which, we are all victims of circumstance at present, some of course more so than others. However, we all have the opportunity to be Good Samaritans to each other, as we find different ways to keep in touch.

Jesus did a lot of walking. He teaches by talking as he is walking. He pauses whilst walking to encounter, heal and change people like Blind Bartimaeus, Zacchaeus (up his tree) and many others. Two friends walking seven miles to Emmaus felt their hearts ‘burning within them’, as they became aware of Christ’s presence with them post-Easter.

Our walking can also lead us into moments of disclosure and insight – ‘epiphany moments’. Just as we eat and drink mindfully at Holy Communion, so we can walk mindfully – perhaps very slowly and deliberately, focussing contemplatively on, say, some Spring flowers coming to life again (an echo of Easter) or maybe a tree or a verse from scripture or perhaps a hymn. Mindfulness meditation can still our minds and as at Emmaus warm our hearts.

However we find ourselves ‘walking’ through the present difficult circumstances, may it be as disciples on a pilgrimage with a disciplined focus on Jesus and on the Jesus we meet in others, especially those in need. May we, the people of Emmanuel, walk in the Light of the Lord, as these two verses of two hymns say.

Jesus Christ is calling,
calling in the streets,
Who will join my journey?
I will guide their feet.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
let my fears be few:
walk one step before me;
I will follow you.

Lord, your summons echoes true
When you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you
And never be the same.
In your company I’ll go
where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow
in you and you in me.

Image: freely available online.
Hymn: Jesus Christ is Waiting, John L. Bell & Graham Maule, © Wild Goose Resource Group, www.wgrg.co.uk
Hymn: The Summons, John L. Bell & Graham Maule, © Wild Goose Resource Group, www.wgrg.co.uk
Reflection © 2020 Gordon Harrison.

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