Signpost for Sunday 30 April, 2017 (Easter 3): Acts 2: 14a, 36-41; Ps 116: 1-4, 12-19; 1 Peter 1: 17-23; Luke 24: 13-35.
I don’t look forward to writing about a really well-known passage. I find the best way is to read each prescribed text for the week and see if I have any immediate thoughts. If not I go in search of scholarly advice.
This week, happily, I had a few thoughts of my own straight away. See what you make of them.
The first is rather tiny but it jumped out. Ps 116:17 says, “I will offer thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving.” Forgive my ignorance, but I’d always thought the sacrifice of thanksgiving was an invention of the modern church to replace the ancient practice of blood/animal sacrifice. It seems the idea of simply singing your heart out or earnestly praying thanks to God has been around for a long time. So, it must be OK.
My second was this. Do we read or listen to the story of the journey from Emmaus and see it simply as an example of Jesus’ resurrection?
Luke may or may not have meant it to be, but it may have more to offer us than that. For example, I like the way Jesus sneaks up on Cleopas and his companion and says, “What the heck are you two on about?” Sure, this could be a bit of subtefuge on his part. “Hey, don’t you recognise me as the bloke who just got crucified?” That might well be his secret question. But what about if we look at it like this: ‘While you’re busy talking about the news headlines, you’re missing the important stuff’?
I get up every morning and open my online newspaper thinking, ‘What’s he done now?’ Of course, I’m talking about Precedent Trump. (I deliberately spelled that Precedent because he’s the first – but maybe not the last – total dork elected to that highest office in the USA.)
But what matters first and foremost is not the Don, it’s who I meet each day and how I behave towards them. There are people I don’t like at work. They are scheming, backstabbing, and underhand. What should I do? Avoiding them is impossible, arguing with them is futile and behaving like them just isn’t me. Funnily enough, actually talking to them, treating them like human beings and voicing my genuine views on things seems to work quite often.
Now, I’m not saying that’s going to work with Donald Trump. What I am saying is that he’s a distraction, a media, gossip, Twitter, Facebook distraction. Just like all the chat in Jerusalem about the awful goings-on; it distracts most of us from the real point – that the example Jesus set and the things he suggested we should think and do didn’t die with him.
You could, of course, take the view, as heard from the lectern, that Jesus is saying to Cleopas and friend, “Don’t you realise, the prophets foretold my coming, death and resurrection?” That may be true, but as they say, “I’ve heard it all before.”