To share from time to time with friends a bit of bread and wine is to share work and life.
To share this same bread with a wounded side is to share struggle, death and resurrection.[i]
Most of us have experienced a bit of heaven sharing good food and laughter with familiar faces in comfortable places. Less of us experience the richness of the Gospel that comes from communing with those from the underside of reality.
Without negating the presence of God in the familiar, in Seed we emphasize the relentless truth that “God has come, is coming, and will continue to come as the stranger among us.”[ii] Without negating that God is accessible to the prosperous and comforted, in Seed we emphasize that God is experienced through the authentic medium of the poor and oppressed. Without negating that God is recognized in creation’s beauty, power and order, in Seed we emphasize that God is more often revealed in the less appealing, the weak, and the struggle.
At the onset of their service, way back in October of 2013, we asked the Seeders to approach their two years here in Colombia as a kind of “Emmaus walk”. What did we mean by that?
The Emmaus account found in Luke 24:13-35 picks up the Gospel story at a low point for those who had been hoping Jesus would fulfill the long awaited Messianic prophecies. Two disciples are on their way to Emmaus discussing the week’s devastating events. Their leader, who they thought had come to liberate them from Roman rule, had been murdered. They and their once bold group of friends were in despair and hiding for their lives. And lastly, an odd rumor started by delirious women was floating around that Jesus had come back to life.
They were scared and confused, “We had hoped that he would be the one to redeem Israel…Moreover, some women of our company amazed us…they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.” The conclusion – they have completely misunderstood the ways, the nature of God.
And so God intervenes…
A stranger appears and listens quietly to the disciples discussing the events of Jesus’ murder. Soon the stranger becomes the guide and offers the disciples a completely new and strange interpretation of the events that makes their “hearts burn within”. Here they start to understand that to “redeem” Israel meant call Israel back to its vocation – to be actors in God’s movement throughout history to reconcile creation to him.
However, the most significant realization is still to come. “’Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ … So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” Only at this point, the point of communion with the stranger turned host, did they come to new understanding, Godly understanding, about the identity of Jesus as the suffering messiah that submerges himself in the underside of reality.
Still, there is one more important movement in the account. The disciples were not simply given the privilege of communing with Jesus and coming to divine understanding so that they could sit around and bask in their profound religious experience. No, Jesus vanishes as to say, you are not meant to be doctrinaires but practitioners engaged in the struggle to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Go, get to work!
Here in Seed, we aim that in addition to being a time of service that these two years be a kind of “Emmaus walk” – the space and time where which each of us experiences the richness of the Gospel that comes from communing with those from the underside of reality, and then like these disciples, go elsewhere and get to work!
We hope you enjoy this next round of blogs that share about strangers turned guides and hosts that have joined us as we walk.
[i] Esquivel V., Julia. Algunos Secretos del Reino, “Compartir”