Wednesday Word: Be Known to Us in the Breaking of the Bread
This coming Sunday, Easter 3, we get the gospel story from Luke about Jesus and two disciples on the road to Emmaus. This is one of the great post-resurrection stories we have and is the basis of the short pre-worship prayer, "Be present, be present, O Jesus, our great High Priest, as you were present with your disciples, and be known to us in the breaking of the bread." -- BCP 834
The story of the road to Emmaus also gives us three stations of the Via Lucis (the Way of Light). This is a relatively new devotional (developed in the '90's and formalized in 2001) that complements and completes the Stations of the Cross (Via Crucis). Whereas the Stations of the Cross focus on Jesus' Passion, death, and burial, the Way of Light, or Stations of Light, focus on appearances of the risen Christ from the empty tomb through the Day of Pentecost (the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples in the form of fire). These stations were designed to be walked especially during Easter week, or anytime during Easter season.
The Fifth Station is the risen Lord being recognized in the breaking of the bread. Here the two disciples have invited their unknown guest to eat with them and spend the night because it is late. The risen Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread, and gave it to the disciples. And it was at this point that their eyes were opened, they recognized Jesus, and he vanished. They then run back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples what had just happened.
I love this story because it reminds me that we don't need to see some big, miraculous event to witness the presence of Christ. I mean, those are nice and all, but sometimes all it takes to see the presence of Christ is sharing a simple meal. And in these times of physical distancing and quarantine, that can be difficult.
But Christ is present when we deliver a meal to someone who needs help after a hospital stay. Christ is present when a group of people Zoom together and chat over their favorite desserts. Christ is present when we try to figure out how to reorganize Community Cafe in order to provide a meal to those in our community. Christ is present when we remember to give thanks for our food and our families who can share the meal with us. Christ is present in so many little ways that we just might miss him if we're constantly looking for the Big Event.
As we continue to work our way through the COVID pandemic, let us continue to pray for the presence of Christ. Let us also look for Christ in all the small things, like the breaking of the bread; because more often than not, it's when all the small things are put together that the big thing is finally revealed.