Hi, friends! The pastor of our church’s contemporary service (our usual service) invited me to preach recently, so last week I gave a Road to Emmaus sermon that would probably give you minimum 3 bingos if you had a Catey bingo card (quotes about grief! jokes about Bible characters needing therapy! casual discussion of how little about the Bible/faith we know for sure! the word “cerebral”!).
You can watch the service here, including our band absolutely nailing a few songs that are definitely “too heavy” for “church.” (I love them. The band and the songs. I picked the songs.) And a little excerpt below!
Cleopas says: “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” There are a couple of ways to read this, I think. One follows this idea of speaking from a place of deep grief: “You’re gonna make me say it out loud? You’re going to make me lay this all out and relive it?” Another option is there’s some sarcasm here: “Are you serious?” This traveler was in Jerusalem; how can he not know?
In any case, Jesus’s answer strikes me as incredibly gentle: “What things?” What things? There is dramatic irony at work here: The reader knows something the characters don’t know. Jesus obviously knows what things—literally better than anyone. But the point of this encounter isn’t for an uninformed traveler to get clued into the local gossip. The point is for Cleopas and Mary to talk it out. With Jesus. “What things?” Why are you sad? What do you talk about when it’s just you and someone you can really get into the deep stuff with? He already knows. He just wants to hear them talk about it. He’s giving them space to lament.