Sunday, 19 September 2010

Remembering the Emmaus Road

I had never done the Emmaus road story as remembered Bible until yesterday and I found it very moving and enlightening.
I wanted three sessions with the group that fitted together but where the "fit" would only really become clear as each of us was on our homeward journey.
The whole point of beginning with a first session on the labyrinth and daring to speak deeply of joys and pain that motivate and hold us back on life's sometimes tortuous journey, was that we should begin to experience more consciously the iterative nature of understanding and discernment, that things are not cut and dried or easy very often but processes which are in various stages of becoming.
So we started with this:
If a man

wishes to be sure
of the road he travels on,
he must close his eyes
and walk in the dark.
If a woman
wishes to be sure
of the road she travels on,
she must close her eyes
and walk in the dark.
(St John of the Cross)

I also spoke a bit about how hard it is to pick up the threads and also shared some of the story of our friend Suzanne. We sang the wonderful Iona chant I learnt at the Kirchentag "Come Holy Spirit" and ended that session by simply reading aloud the kennings that I had prepared, as we reflected on our paths and the way our stories are part of God's story, how Jesus' story becomes part of our story. The kennings simply evoked that, without (I hope) imposing particular stories or interpretations on people.
Compline fitted in beautifully after that first session, and it was good to have a night to sleep on things - and time in the bar to chat about things!
For the second and third sessions I wanted to take up the themes of pain and joy on the journey more clearly. So I chose Christ's arrest, betrayal and passion and wanted a resurrection story to go with that.
Janet had spoken to me about how she had once taken a small barbecue to church to try to prompt rememberings on the cooked fish resurrection story (this was the origin of my kenning "fish barbecuer"). However, I decided I wanted to go with the Emmaus road and see how that worked.
I started that final session by reading Danny Abse's poem about paint and blood. The pain is still part of the joy as we move towards resurrection. Then we began simply remembering biblical stories about bread, gradually moving through to the Emmaus story ... it became clear to me just how much the story itself is about how events are remembered and interpreted. The two were going "home", they thought they knew where they were going - but actually their destination changed because of their encounter with the risen one in the breaking of the bread. Emmaus is a story of iteration, of missed understanding and new insight.
I particularly liked the fact that some people shared experiences around the story from their church and pastoral work. Clearly somehow links were being made between our story and the story of the kingdom. All our stories are one.


Maryann said...

Thank you for your kind words of support! I love reading your blog and remembering everything I learned in Geneva.. who knows, maybe someday I'll come back. You're right that we never know where we're going, we only think we know. When we're open to God our journey can be so different from what we expected, but also so marvelous!

Thank you, your work is encouraging to me.

Jane said...

Glad you enjoy reading I enjoy reading your blog too - so keep writing while you're on the next phase of the journey