The Road to Emmaus

18 Jun

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 3 Easter 8 May 2011

The Road to Emmaus

Knowing the story (or thinking that we know the story) can leave us at a disadvantage.  It can leave a sarcastic tone of bite in our ears.  This energy can stem from disappointment out of dashed expectations, sadness, anger, and any kind of loss, leading us to say incredulously, “Are you the only stranger who does not know the things that have taken place in these days?” (Lk 24:18)  But Jesus doesn’t take the energetic bait.  He does not come back with, “Well, duh!  Look Who you’re talking to!”  He draws out more conversation with “What things?”  That simple question paves the path for more discussion.  This open-ended question allows them to share the foundation of what they already know.  This is what skilled teachers do.  We are all like children and cannot grow beyond what we already know until we first discuss the basics with each other.  Our eyes are kept from recognizing (Lk 24:16) until a fresh perspective can be overlaid on top of what we already know, and that fresh perspective can steep through our foolish, foggy minds and quicken our hearts so they are no longer slow to receive. (ref Lk 24:25)  The same is true in our day as with the folks talking with Jesus on the Road to Emmaus.  It is in the walking and talking that allows eyes of wisdom to “wake up” with recognition. 

It is for this very reason much of the Book of Revelation was written in cryptic symbolic language.  This is our “Road to Emmaus.”  Hence:

Revelation 17:9

“This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.

We, the Church, are the “woman” and we are the seven church archetypes as described in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 [ie, the “seven heads”] sitting on top of the very issues we have rejected, avoided, denied, and ignored.  The “seven hills” are the lumpy struggles the Church has had with the Seven Contrary Virtues (“contrary” in the sense of being contrasted with the seven deadly sins): practicing humility versus pride, kindness versus envy, abstinence versus gluttony, chastity versus lust, patience versus rage, generosity versus greed, and diligence versus sloth.  Since the Church became an Institution in the 300’s AD, the Church has been raising the battle cry against the “Infidels!” (name your “heathen,”) and the “Infidels” have risen in exact proportionate counterweight energy to us, because whichever kingdom one is pursuing (heaven or hell), it originates from within and moves outwardly.  Consequently:

Revelation 17:10-11

10They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. 11The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.

Psychological and spiritual projection and possession become “the beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction.”  Projection and possession create much noise and hyperactivity (physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually).  They can become contagious and can propagate, just as any spiritual disease.  Projection and possession then compound in denial and control, which all constitute a thick veil.  Only God can rip through it.  Every human being contends with the same beast within.  Some take arrogance and denial of their arrogance to horrific proportions and become brutal dictators.  So, in actuality, there really have been “seven kings.” Five really have “fallen.”  There is a cluster of five in our recent history who killed people numbering in the millions [italics emphasis mine]: [1]

  1. Adolf Hitler (b 1889)

AKA ‘Der Führer’ (The Leader)

Country: Germany

Kill tally: Directly responsible for the deaths of over 46 million Europeans as a result of the Second World War.

 

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (b 1870)

Birth name Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov

Country: Russia

Kill tally: Between 50,000 and 200,000 suspected “enemies of the state” executed by the Vecheka (All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-revolution and Sabotage) following the ‘Bolshevik Revolution’. Tens of thousands more allowed to die in prison. Five million starved to death in famine caused by ‘War Communism’ policies.

 

Joseph Stalin (b 1878)

AKA ‘Koba’, AKA ‘Uncle Joe’. Stalin translates to ‘Man of Steel’

Country: Former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR – Soviet Union)

Kill tally: Approximately 20 million, including up to 14.5 million needlessly starved to death. At least one million executed for political “offenses”. At least 9.5 million more deported, exiled or imprisoned in work camps, with many of the estimated five million sent to the ‘Gulag Archipelago’ never returning alive. Other estimates place the number of deported at 28 million, including 18 million sent to the ‘Gulag’.

 

Kim Il Sung (b 1912)

AKA ‘Great Leader’, AKA ‘Eternal Leader’, AKA ‘Suryong’ (Supreme Leader)

Country: North Korea

Kill tally: About three million killed in the Korean War. Between 600,000 and one million North Koreans needlessly starved to death due to the economic legacy of Kim’s regime. (Some reports claim that as many as three million starved.)

 

Mao Tse-Tung (b 1893)

AKA Chairman Mao, AKA ‘The Great Helmsman’. (Tse-Tung can also be spelt Zedong. Translated the name means ‘To Shine on the East’.)

Country: China

Kill tally: 14 to 20 million deaths from starvation during the ‘Great Leap Forward’. Tens of thousands killed and millions of lives ruined during the ‘Cultural Revolution’.

Now look again at: “Five have fallen, one is.”  (Revelation 17:10) Saddam Hussein fits the “one is” profile not because “is” is present tense, but because the legacy of his destruction still echoes years after his relatively recent death.  The people, the whole world really, are still suffering the intense pain and sorrow he inflicted on so many, so needlessly.  That kind of deep grief cannot be healed quickly, and especially not when war still plagues the very nation where his people live.

Saddam Hussein (b 1937, hanged 30 Dec 2006)

Full name Saddam Hussein al-Majid al-Tikriti. AKA ‘Great Uncle’, AKA ‘Lion of Babylon’, AKA ‘Lion of Iraq’, AKA ‘Beast of Baghdad’. Saddam translates to ‘One Who Confronts’.

Country: Iraq

Kill tally: Approaching two million, including between 150,000 and 340,000 Iraqi and between 450,000 and 730,000 Iranian combatants killed during the Iran-Iraq War. An estimated 1,000 Kuwaiti nationals killed following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. No conclusive figures for the number of Iraqis killed during the Gulf War, with estimates varying from as few as 1,500 to as many as 200,000. Over 100,000 Kurds killed or “disappeared”. No reliable figures for the number of Iraqi dissidents and Shia Muslims killed during Saddam’s reign, though estimates put the figure between 60,000 and 150,000. (Mass graves discovered following the US occupation of Iraq in 2003 suggest that the total combined figure for Kurds, Shias and dissidents killed could be as high as 300,000). Approximately 500,000 Iraqi children dead because of international trade sanctions introduced following the Gulf War.”

We already know that “The beast who once was, and now is not” is projection.  Who in our world projected his hatred for our Western society more than Osama bin Laden?  He did come, and he did remain for a “little while” (Rev 17:10), and he did set up al Qaeda, with their cell leaders.  These cell leaders fit verse 12: “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.”  They also “have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast.” (v 13) Their purpose is jihad:  holy war.  “Jihad” is Arabic, from jahada, to strive, meaning: “An individual’s striving for spiritual self-perfection.”[2]  Since only God is perfect and the ego-self must learn humility, a “holy” war is wrong.  “14They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” 

Ok, now stop.  Breathe.  Dearest Reader, before you make an ego-attachment to the phrase “his called, chosen and faithful followers,” take a breath and breathe out that attachment lest you inadvertently pick up the sword of favoritism, of which is counter to God’s character, Who shows no partiality. (1 Peter 1:17)  Favoritism leads to elitism, feelings of entitlement, specialness, and hierarchical thinking, which stems from jealousy, (the human offspring’s first sin beginning with Cain to Abel, and was caused by jealousy (see Genesis Chapter 4).)  After all, since God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14), and we are His children, then we have a choice to be jealous back TO God, or zealous FOR Him and perpetuate more of the same behaviors that have led to so much grief in our human history thus far.  This can be just a “Pete and Repeat” moment, or a glorious Alpha and Omega opportunity.  Sure, God allowed this all to happen:

Revelation 17:17

17For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.

And, we can continue acting “beastly,” or we can love one another as God has loved us.  For,

Revelation 17:18

“The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”

The attitude that we display is that which rules inside our hearts.  There’s no mystery in that!  This IS our Road to Emmaus.  Part of “waking up” spiritually is not only about awareness, but also recognizing the Love that is in our midst.  It is also recognizing that God has already put into our hearts what to accomplish in His Word as it is in the process of being fulfilled.  This was evidenced by the National Day of Prayer that occurred this week.

Prayer:  Lord, help us to recognize You.  Amen.

 

3 Easter                                 8 May 2011                                       Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

First Lesson: Acts 2:14a, 36-41
2:14a: But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.

2:36 Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

2:39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

2:40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

2:41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
116:1 I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.

116:2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

116:3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.

116:4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, save my life!”

116:12 What shall I return to the LORD for all his bounty to me?

116:13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,

116:14 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones.

116:16 O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.

116:17 I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the LORD.

116:18 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,

116:19 in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!

Second Lesson: 1 Peter 1:17-23
1:17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile.

1:18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold,

1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.

1:20 He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake.

1:21 Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.

1:22 Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.

1:23 You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

Gospel Lesson: Luke 24:13-35
24:13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,

24:14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.

24:15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them,

24:16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

24:17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.

24:18 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?”

24:19 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,

24:20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him.

24:21 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.

24:22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning,

24:23 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.

24:24 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.”

24:25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!

24:26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”

24:27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

24:28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.

24:29 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.

24:30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.

24:31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.

24:32 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?”

24:33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.

24:34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!”

24:35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

 

 

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