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Despair and Revelation

The Gospel story this week (Luke 24:13-25) is of two downcast followers of Jesus walking the long road home from the City of Peace with heavy hearts. Their world had collapsed, their hopes were crucified, and they kicked up dead dust with each plodding step. Then Jesus draws near, though their eyes are kept from recognizing him and only see a stranger.

The recognition of Jesus comes when they break bread together. At that sudden awakening, he vanishes from their sight. They are flooded with new understanding, empowerment and joy. In retrospect, they remember their burning hearts as the scriptures opened up for them in their conversation with the stranger. Immediately they race back to Jerusalem to rejoice with their friends, to empower the community.

In this time of heavy pandemic despair, scriptures are burning new paths in my own heart. Amidst the ravages of escalating deaths and crumbling social and economic systems, my own downcast eyes are slowly opening to divine possibilities, however hidden. Corona is becoming a new pathway of revelation.

My quiet times of prayer and reflection occasionally spark with surprising questions for Corona as teacher, wondering about power. What new learnings is the Spirit provoking in pandemic time? What new empowerment might be growing?

There are hints that this road is not all about death and grief. New life will be given. New empowerment, too. Air pollution has lulled. Nations are agreeing to cease making war. There is more prayer. More family and community focus. More Earth awareness. More global consciousness and compassion.

The oneness of all living beings is being felt at a new level. Wonder and imagination seem to have taken on new dimensions. Every day I hear enthusiastic stories about the healing beauty of creation, the amazing interconnection of the human species even in so much isolation, and the joy of experiencing oneness with animals, trees, flowing waters. Awakenings of huge proportions are sparked by noticing one azalea bush blazing in the sun, one goldfinch peering in the window, starlight reflected in a pond, one breath of fresh, clean air after an April rain.

What new or renewed human consciousness is awakening? That question makes my heart burn and I am aware of Jesus drawing near. That question connects me to the despairing disciples on the road to Emmaus and their transformation in his presence.

As we recover from this horrible pandemic, however long it takes and whatever devastation must be endured and grieved, let us stay alert to new awakenings and new learnings. Let us remain vigilant to the mystery of divine mercy. Our world is being reshaped. The disciples on the road to Emmaus remind us that Jesus’ companionship is faithful, revelatory and always transforms grief to joy. Personally, and for the whole community of life.

Reflection Questions

1. What is happening for you as you travel this dusty Pandemic Road?

2. How is Corona alerting you to see new possibilities for creation?

3. What strength is deepening in you?

This blog first appeared in the Church of the Saviour’s inwardoutward.org weekly offering.

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Isabella Bates
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Isabella Bates

Dear Ann it is wonderful to hear your wise words at this time. I miss having wonderful long talks with you. I hope you are well. Stephen and I have built a good life here in Cape Ann. I am a Hospice volunteer and still lead meditation here at our home.

Rev Susan Lantz
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Rev Susan Lantz

I have been the co-ordinate of 2 food banks since1994 serving up to 150 families a month. We have seen a virtual flood.of new donors and volunteers in this terrifying time. We are, frankly; dazzled by God’s goodness that helps us to take special precautions.