Susquehanna Morning

Susquehanna Morning

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Still Easter 2: Hearts on Fire

I have some favorite passages of scripture.

The theological and slightly sensuous conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well (ask me about the song I wrote about it).

The liberation anthem sung by Mary, Jesus' mother.

Pretty much everything in Genesis, but in particular: the story of Hagar.

The friends who lower their buddy through a roof and into Jesus' presence for healing.

The midwives' shenanigans in Exodus. The burning bush in Exodus. Miriam's arc in Exodus and beyond.

That there is a tree of life.

It's ridiculous, really. So many it starts to feel silly calling them "favorites." But then there's this:

A couple of people (maybe, a couple) are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus (a site for which there are about 7 contenders, not sure where it is, really, except, a day's walk or thereabouts). Jesus falls in with them, but they can't recognize him. They try to school him on Jesus, because he acts clueless (a little). But then he begins to talk to them about scripture, and suddenly, they are in the presence of a rabbi.

(Hey, this feels kind of familiar.)

They invite him to stay with them when they get to their house. (A couple, I'm pretty sure.)

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; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us[f] while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” ~ Luke 24:29b-31

I don't know why, but I feel this passage viscerally. Because it's a story about a stranger getting under your skin, maybe? A story about the elusive nature of knowing, or not knowing. A story about something you can't quite identify, which reveals itself as something at the very core of you that you'd forgotten, or tried to bury, or abandon.

But then, there it is. And it's real, and it's undeniable, and it brings with it both grief and joy, an ending and a beginning.

In my own life I have so many stories of gathering around a table with friends, and finding more there than I could have hoped or imagined. And it's never long enough, even though that time is more kairos than chronos, and timeless in its own way.

But the question that's asked--"Weren't our hearts on fire...?" suggests that we know before we know.

We know, even before we know. And then we spend our lives marveling at it.

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