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Easter hospitality

Easter hospitalityRead Luke 24:13-35

“Sacred moments, the moments of miracle, are often everyday moments, the moments which, if we do not look with more than our eyes or listen with more than our ears, reveal only…a stranger coming down the road behind us...a meal like any other meal. But if we look with our hearts…what we may see is Jesus himself.” The Magnificent Defeat by Frederick Buechner

Sometimes we have to look with more than our eyes and listen with more than our ears. Sometimes our hearts will tell us that there is so much more to see. The two disciples walking the Emmaus Road show us how.

Their story opens in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus had died two days earlier and with him had died the hope and faith of his disciples, dear friends and family. A few of the women had returned from the place he had been buried, claiming that the tomb was empty, and a few of the twelve had claimed to see him. But for the most part, his friends were still experiencing shock and grief and the feeling that all they had worked for was over. And so two of them, later in the day of Easter Sunday, decided it was time to walk home.

As they walk, talking about the traumatic events that had unfolded in the days before, they are joined by a stranger who seems not to know what they’re talking about. But as the sun begins to set, they extend hospitality to the stranger, inviting him to share their evening meal and spend the night with them. When they sat together at the table and he broke the bread, just as he had on the night he was arrested, they recognized him. It was Jesus.

What is remarkable about this story is how ordinarily it begins. The risen Christ comes to two people in the midst of a very common activity, heading home after dealing with a terrible loss. The two of them could be any of us. The road to Emmaus could be the road to our home. The conversation could reflect how we endure loss and grief. The two weren’t expecting company and didn’t recognize their fellow traveler. Yet they invited him into their home and offered a meal and a bed. And when they extended hospitality, they saw more. They saw Jesus. 

Hospitality is an important quality of Christian ministry at Presbyterian Homes & Services. We remember that Jesus promises to be present with us when we extend hospitality in his name to those who need it most, especially to the one who may feel like a stranger in a strange new place. Every day we welcome older adults to their homes, greet them by name, serve their meals, help with their daily cares, work and play, laugh and cry with them. Many of our employees tell us that in the faces of the older adults they serve, they see Jesus. 

This is what happens when we are true to our mission: “to honor God by enriching the lives and touching the hearts of older adults.” This is how we look and listen with our hearts. By God’s good grace, the risen Christ enters into the midst of daily life and a common experience becomes sacred, an ordinary moment becomes holy and service to another is transformed into service to Jesus himself. 

There was no moment more ordinary on the road to Emmaus than that humble meal at the end of the day. Yet, in this story, we are invited to find Jesus in the ordinary moments and experiences that make up our lives. Even in the sad moments, the moments of loss and grief, the risen Christ is present with a love more powerful than death.

May God bless you on this Day of Resurrection. May you find what is holy in the ordinary; may your everyday experiences become sacred; may you share these blessings by extending hospitality to others and may you look with your heart and see Jesus.

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