A Journey with a Stranger

Two people were walking on the road to Emmaus, perhaps a man and a woman. They were confused, frustrated and upset over the events of crucifixion, the empty tomb and the “emptiness of their lives without Jesus. A stranger joined them as they walked and they shared with him their story. He in turn told the familiar story of the Hebrew people from the time of Moses and interpreted to them the prophecies regarding the Messiah. When they reached Emmaus, they asked the stranger to join them for a meal. It was in the breaking of the bread that they recognized Jesus and understood what he had told them on the road.
(Read the story in Luke 24:13-36)

It was a stranger who offered a listening ear, solace for their pain and suffering, a new understanding of the scriptures. And it was a stranger who joined them in food and fellowship. On our journeys we encounter friends, family, and strangers. Are we alert to Christ’s presence in each? Are we open to new understandings of God’s love that others can bring us? Are we hospitable, willing to share what we have with others? Do we share God’s gift of Jesus, the resurrected Christ in our encounters with others?

On the day of resurrection
to Emmaus we return,
while confused, amazed and frightened,
Jesus comes to us, unknown

Then this stranger asks a question,
“What is this which troubles you?”
Meets us in our pain and suffering;
Jesus walks with us, unknown Michael Peterson

To watch for Christ in the world is to see that the spirit within us recognizes the Spirit among us so that spirit speaks to Spirit, heart speaks to Heart, love speaks to Love. Henri J.M. Nouwen

The risen Jesus opens up the meaning of scripture. The risen Jesus is known in the sharing of bread. The risen Jesus journeys with his followers, even when they don’t know it. This story is the metaphoric condensation of several years of early Christian experience into one parabolic afternoon. Whether the story happened or not, Emmaus always happens. Emmaus happens again and again – this is its truth as parabolic narrative. Marcus Borg

Christ has risen to companion former friends who fear the night,
sensing loss and limitation where their faith had once burned bright.
They bemoan what is no longer, they expect no hopeful sign
till Christ ends their conversation, breaking bread and sharing wine. John Bell

When and how have you experienced the risen Christ as you journey with a stranger?

Note: These reflections are for use during the week of April 26-May 2 and are based on the scriptures for worship on April 26.

Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence


Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.

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