Object Lesson: U-turn on the Road to Emmaus

u_turnToday’s object is a U-turn sign.

You can make your own or find one online to print.

Today’s gospel is a familiar story.

It describes the chaos of the first Easter morning. The news is just starting to circulate about the appearance of the risen Lord.

Many weren’t sure they wanted to take the word of  the women who claimed to see the Lord. But their story was backed up by the disciples. Still, it was pretty incredible and who knew what the news meant.

These disciples, Cleopas and his unnamed friend, decide it is a good idea to leave town.

A stranger joins them and spends the two-hour walk explaining the recent happenings in light of scripture. It must have been a pleasant and intriguing conversation because the two disciples invite the stranger to spend the night.

Dinner is served. The conversation continues. And then the stranger breaks bread.

The veil is lifted. The disciples recognize Jesus.

Jesus vanishes.

That’s where the story often stops in our minds. But reread the last verses with your congregation.

Cleopas and friend pretty much leave the dishes on the table and retrace their two-hour journey. They suddenly want to be back with the others. Suddenly, even the setting of the sun on a dark country road couldn’t stop them.

They join the remaining eleven disciples and share their story.

They make a U-turn.

What confused them hours ago now energizes them. What had them on the run now has them wanting to be in the thick of things—no longer looking out for themselves, no longer doubting their colleagues.

This is a common thread of the post-Resurrection appearance stories.

Thomas did his U-turn in last week’s gospel story.

What do we need in our lives to turn us on our heels and head back to the Lord? How do we put our doubt and fear for our own safety aside and get to work?

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