“Solved by Walking” Rev. Amy Wagner

I am not entirely certain about what Amy Wagner is going to preach from this passage.  But here are some of my "ponderings" on Luke 24:13-35, in particular spurred on by her sermon title "Solved by Walking".

It could be argued that walking is what brought about change for justice in the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-1960s.  Non-violent resistance, in the form of walks demonstrating against injustice, were powerful visuals of just how many people expressed their belief that change needed to happen. Martin Luther King Jr.'s best known speech, the "I Have a Dream" speech, happened at the MARCH on Washington in August 1963--a large gathering of people walking as a demonstration.  The message of their demonstration was clear, and the movement was actualized by their gathering and their actually physically moving.

In this passage from Luke, two of Jesus' disciples (not part of the inner sanctum of the 12, but disciples nonetheless) are walking the rugged seven-mile road downhill to Jericho from Jerusalem, later on the same day that they have heard that Jesus' body was not in the tomb and that some were saying he was alive. This is obviously very puzzling to them, as they--and everyone else who was out and about the previous Friday in the very public place where crucifixions happened--had seen with their own eyes that Jesus was obviously dead. As they are walking, trying to make sense of this, they are joined by someone whom they don't recognize, and who wonders why they seem so puzzled. They tell this seeming stranger what has happened, and as they are walking together this stranger explains things, and makes sense of all that has happened the last few days about Jesus.  As they say later, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32).

They didn't figure it out while walking--they figured it out after they'd stopped, were going to eat, and they recognized him when he broke the bread in that way they'd seen him break it before. But yet, while they were walking they experienced the sense of something different, something starting to clarify, some feeling that maybe, just maybe, a presence was with them that could make it all make sense.

Brian McLaren has a book called "We Make the Road By Walking". Its subtitle is "A Year-Long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation". McLaren writes in the Forward, "I've written 'We Make the Road by Walking' to help individuals and groups seize this moment and walk wisely and joyfully into the future together . . .The title suggests that faith was never intended to be a destination, a status, a holding tank, or a warehouse. Instead, it was to be a road, a path, a way out of old and destructive patterns into new and creative ones. As a road or way, it is always being extended into the future . . ."

Perhaps this kind of walking will help us solve those life questions.  Perhaps we too will experience that presence with us that causes our hearts to burn within us with hope that emboldens our journey of faith.


GOSPEL              Luke 24:13-35

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?’ They stood still, looking sad. 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?’ 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, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 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. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 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 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.’ 25 Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 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. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 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?’ 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ 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.