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3 Easter - Luke 24:13-35

But we had hoped...

Yes indeed. Here at Shepherd of the Valley, we had hoped to baptize little Lauren today.

We had hoped to celebrate Jackson's first Communion.

We had hoped to bless and thank God for those who are a bit farther down the road with Jesus, closer to sunset, the wise elders among us.

We had hoped to read this gospel in celebration of the long road of life, the walk from font to table to maturity to fatigue to the final resurrection glory of fully opened eyes.

We had hoped to gather to thank God for the great journey of faith, together with companions at multiple stages and stops along the way, including two beloved young ones at the sacramental milestones of baptism and first Communion ... after which I had hoped to go order a beer with lunch and watch the Dodger game.

We had hoped.

Instead, we are shuffling along the great journey from kitchen to living room, grieving.

Jesus does not make the same mistake that keeps tempting me.

Jesus does not rush the conversation or short circuit the grief.

He does not tell the disciples, at least right away, to get over it, to move on, to remember

that others have it worse, to see the silver lining, to suck it up, to seize this opportunity... or any of the other things we might say someone is standing still, looking sad.

Even though these two are grieving the death of someone who is alive, he lets them talk.

I hope we can be as gracious with others, and with ourselves.

I hope we don't close down conversations as quickly as we want to reopen the economy.

Slowness of heart is part of being human.

Sudden losses, whether they are profound like loved ones' lives and livelihoods, or relatively

trivial like parties and baseball, take time for us to process.

Plans and dreams and hopes have died, or at best slipped into a coma.

The world changed without our consent, and it looks like life will not be the same for a long time, if ever.

We're talking and posting and blogging and praying and thinking and obsessing and watching and reacting a lot these days, because we have to.

That's how life is on the road to Emmaus.

Some scholars think that Emmaus was a Roman military outpost.

If so, the two travelers are walking, maybe drifting, toward the very power that crucified

the one they had hoped would save them from it.

They are in the tractor beam of empire, going along with the way things are because what other choice do they have, really?

They are walking away from their community of believers in the dead pretender who they had hoped would be the Messiah, all the while wearing their grief on their sleeve.

They are talking through devastating facts and fanciful rumors.

They are rehashing the story, not because the story will change, but because they have to.

They are weighing the credibility of reports and the evidence doesn't look good.

By biblical storytelling standards, which tend to conserve precious papyrus space, their

voices are given a lot of air time.

The first part of this good news lesson is that the hidden Jesus is not in a hurry.

We don't have to get it together yet.