This is our last full day in the Holy Land. We end our travels tomorrow with worship at St. George’s Cathedral here in Jerusalem and then head to the airport for a late Sunday evening flight. Today was a rainy but glorious day when we visited the Tomb of Samuel where the Crusaders first saw Jerusalem. The highlight of the day was our visit to one of four possible sites that could be the Road to Emmaus where Jesus appeared to two men after the Resurrection.
Luke 24:13-35 tells the story of Cleopas and another man who were met on the road to Emmaus by a stranger when they were walking and talking about being saddened by Jesus’ crucifixion three days before. They had hoped that Jesus would redeem Israel. The stranger challenged them: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then the stranger began with Moses and the Prophets and instructed the two men in all Scripture concerning Jesus.
The three drew near to Emmaus and the friends invited the stranger to stay with them overnight. As the stranger blessed, broke and gave bread to them at dinner, the two friends’, “eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.” It was then they recognized the stranger as Jesus. Immediately, they rose and went and told the township that they had seen the risen Lord.
Our host, Fr. Kamal commented that although we know the identity of the one gentleman on the road to Emmaus, Cleopas, we are lucky to not know who the other person was. “It is intentional that the other man is unidentified. He is us. Each time we celebrate the Eucharist, taking in Christ’s body and blood in the bread and wine, we see Jesus and the light anew.”
Rev. Leigh Spruill closed by saying that although our Holy Land pilgrimage comes to end for us tomorrow, it doesn’t end here. Instead we are now a people oriented towards the East, where the light comes from."It is now up to us to race back with joy and excitement to the township to tell that we have seen the Lord and now live in the light."
Our pilgrimage begins today.
Blessings, my friend,