Jesus opens your heart to love!

April 26, 2020

Luke 24:13-35

During this pandemic, we have seen many people stepping up to try new things and to reach out to their sisters and brothers around the world. If you are a fan of talk shows, many have found ways to record from home, like what we have been doing Sunday morning. The actor John Krasinski has even started his own online show, SGN (Some Good New). Who does not need to hear some good news during this time? In one of his recent good news stories, he shared videos from the virtual prom that he hosted for the class of 2020. It is through the little things like this that Jesus opens our hearts to love. Where has your heart been opened this month?

A couple of weeks out from Easter Sunday we continue to hear stories of the resurrected Jesus that shines his light upon the disciples. On Easter Sunday the tomb is empty, and the women return to share the Good news with the disciples that are hiding in fear behind closed doors. Last week, Jesus revealed himself to those disciples and then to Thomas since he was absent when Jesus first appeared. This Sunday Jesus appears to two disciples that are traveling on the road to Emmaus. These stories are connected through love as Jesus opens the eyes of those living in denial of the events of Good Friday and invites them to be transformed.

Opening our eyes does not come easy. When our preconceived notions come into conflict or contradict the truth, we resist. We resist because we are not yet ready. We resist because it may mean we have to completely change our entire philosophy. We resist because we do not want to admit that someone else may be right. When our preconceived notions are challenged, we get defensive and find it easier to enter arguments and debates with our siblings that do not have the same point of view. Unfortunately, it can even be taken to the extreme where friendships are broken, and families are torn apart. Yet, Jesus is present to open your heart to love.

Cleopas and the disciple who are walking on the road to Emmaus are living into the brokenness that is experienced in the aftermath of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. Their hope was placed in Jesus being the one to redeem Israel. Instead they are left wondering what is next, even amid the rumor coming from the women that the tomb was empty. Their own preconceived notions do not align with what has happened thus far. They are not alone on the road, as a stranger comes up to them and seems oblivious to the recent happenings in Jerusalem. They are astounded that he has not heard and they begin to share what they know. He keeps walking with them and making connections to scripture. It is in this walking that they sense the burning of their hearts. A passion has been set ablaze within them. However, this is not fully realized within them until the stranger breaks bread with them and suddenly vanishes. It is at this moment that their eyes are opened, and they realize that their hearts were trying to tell them something.

Jesus stokes those same flames within us. His good news sets our hearts burning like Cleopas and the other disciple. The fanning of the flames is a signal for us to stop and realize that there is something happening here, and we better pay attention. Cleopas and the other disciple missed this until Jesus had already departed. It is in these flames that we see things through the light of Jesus Christ. Jesus opens our eyes through the path of our heart.

God wants us to open our heart to the beauty of God’s creation that surrounds us. The beauty that is revealed in our sisters and brothers. The beauty that is revealed in the rising and the setting of the sun. The beauty that is reflected off from a nice still lake on a moonlit night. When we open our hearts to Christ, we begin to see new and exciting ways of being in this world. Jesus opens our hearts to love as we journey down the road with him. Where has your heart been opened this past month?

By Alex Steward

I am a husband, father, and pastor within the ELCA. I did not grow up in the church and thus come at this pastoring thing with an unique perspective.

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