Emmaus Encounters


I’ve been struck by the question of how the disciples failed to recognize the Christ until after the disappearance. I’ve been turning this over in my mind all week. The result is the following poem:

Their feet were not quick that day
their hearts were heavy with
grief and anger
they carried an immeasurable
unbelievable loss from Jerusalem
to Emmaus
on a road made famous
by an encounter with a stranger
who became Christ
when bread was broken
at a table
so much like another

Words came before recognition
they heard their own history
their own story
told from a new perspective
ignited a smoldering fire
in their hearts
so smothered in grief
the flame hardly registered
until they sat
staring at the place
Christ had just filled

How light and quick were their feet
on the return trip
undertaken in a darkness
no longer dark to them
filled with confusing news
they ran to proclaim the Risen Christ
to others who were still waiting to see
for themselves the meaning of the tomb
newly made empty
when Christ walked out of death

Jesus acompanies many of us
for much longer than seven miles
revealing to us our own stories
made new with the Word
kindling fires deep within
Why do we so often fail to notice
until we encounter the space
Christ so recently filled?

If you are looking for sermon help, you may want to try here.

RCL – Year A – Third Sunday of Eastertide – April 30, 2017
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
1 Peter 1:17-23
Luke 24:13-35

Photo: CC0 image by Unsplash

By rachaelkeefe

Hi. I am a pastor, an author, a painter, and a poet. Find out more about all of my work, including spiritual direction and suicide prevention, on my website (

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