Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 3)

ROAD, TABLE, ROAD
(Luke 24: 13-35)

The weary miles coat our feet in the dust
of the Emmaus road. Afternoon sky
shimmers with heat, and the light, like a crust

of fire cast off by the sun, scrapes at eyes
already raw from weeping. We have left
Jerusalem, but not our grief – he died,

the one we called our Lord – and we, bereft
of purpose, joy and hope, now try to find
our way without his leading. Like a cleft

tree or uprooted vine, our hurting minds,
stung by the strength of death, cannot conceive
of anything greater still; thus we’re blind

to hope too wild for cracked hearts to receive –
angels saying Christ’s risen from the tomb –
the news the women would have us believe.

So we dully plod the dusty road, gloom
our only companion until someone
joins our journey: just a man, we assume,

like us; and while we talk of all just done
in Jerusalem, he listens, mildness
in his voice as he probes our words, tale spun

from our bewildered thoughts. Though the blindness
of our sad minds to who he is remains,
yet our hearts begin to feel a lightness

as this one stranger, his words kindling flame,
shows from Scripture what Christ had come to do.
Uplifted, rapt (though still he gives no name),

surprised to find that hope has surged anew,
we beg his presence at our evening meal.
But when he takes the bread, gives thanks, the view

we have of him is changed, for now his real
identity is revealed: Christ, who gave
himself for the life of the world, who sealed

the new covenant in which we are saved
by his body given, his blood shed – and
who, raised by God, triumphed over the grave.

Questions will wait; we don’t, can’t understand
it all, but hardly care. Weary no more,
we want to tell the others what we can;

hurrying we head through the open door
to the road again, to Jerusalem.
Sensing how much more there now is in store

for the hungry of the world, we’ll tell them
that Jesus who died and rose is our bread –
that he is life, greater than death. Praise him!

Copyright © 2014 by Andrew King

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