When he was at the table with them, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; (Luke 24:30-31)
The Easter story is one that is more than an event. It unfolds over time. First there are women who find the tomb empty. Then two men/angels who try to help them make sense of it. Then the disciples come to see for themselves and they also find the tomb empty. In each case the encounter points to the fact that Jesus maybe alive, but there is still not any signs that make sense of this whole thing.
The verses above are ones that Lutherans have loved and are ones that stand at the core of how we practice our faith together. They are from a story about two people walking to Emmaus and on their way they encounter a stranger. They detail to him all the events of Holy Week – the arrest and death of Jesus, his burial in the tomb, and rumors that he is risen. The man walking with them listens intently, asking a few questions to clarify the events as the two disciples talk to him.
It gets late and it is time to stop for the night and to find an evening meal. The two men impress on the stranger to stay with them – they have enjoyed his company and want more of it. And as they eat their meal, the stranger (Jesus) took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them. It is in the breaking of the bread that they recognize the man for who he is – the risen Jesus.
Each Sunday when we gather, we come like the two men on the road. Like them we are on life’s journey. We have heard the stories of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. But the events of each week mean that we may still live more like Jesus is dead than alive. It is easy to get caught up in the issues of the world, work and family and lose sight of the risen Christ. We may even come wondering if he’s even alive at all.
But when we break bread and share this simple thing, in the midst of this we recognize Jesus. He is with us all the time but we often fail to recognize him. But as we eat the bread and drink from the cup we hear these words, “The body of Christ given for you.” and “The blood of Christ shed for you.” Jesus is with us. Our lives are put back in focus. So each week, take time to gather and “take and eat.” In so doing, you will renew your connection to the crucified and risen Christ.