Texts from the Empty Tomb • 04/29/2020

Hello, my name is Susan Bloomfield, Director of Music Ministries at Mountain View Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotional for April 29 is based on the hymn text, To Emmaus*, by Joseph Reuter.

I have always been struck by the Emmaus story – how Jesus walked with the disciples as they traveled the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, but even as they discussed everything that had just happened – the trial, death, and proclaiming of Jesus’ resurrection – they still didn’t recognize Jesus until they broke bread with him at supper that evening.

Until this year, I have always focused on the Communion interpretation of “breaking bread.”  Communion has always been a profound sacrament for me and is one of the primary sacraments we celebrate in the Church.

But this year was different.  We haven’t been celebrating Communion together as a Church community, so when I was choosing music for this past Sunday, I was looking for something that didn’t highlight Communion as much.  When I found this hymn, I knew it was just what I was searching for.  It was perfect for the hymn of the day because it retold the Gospel story in a different way:

(You can hear/watch Susan play To Emmaus as part of worship HERE.)

1. Down the highway to Emmaus,

Wrapped in sorrow, home we fled.

Jesus, who would be our Savior,

In a borrowed tomb lay dead.

2. Then a stranger joined and asked us,

“Why your sorrow?” “Sir!” we cried,

“Don’t you know the true Messiah,

Son of God, was crucified!”

3. “Know you not the sacred scriptures,”

Strong and swift came his reply,

“The Messiah, meek and humble,

Came on earth to bleed and die?”

4. As we journeyed on, he taught us,

Opened up the prophets’ word.

Fiery, burned our hearts within us

As these ancient truths we heard.

5. When he joined us at our table,

Breaking bread, his glory shone;

In our house, revealed before us,

Jesus stood and then was gone.

6. Down the highway from Emmaus

To Jerusalem we ran,

Shouting that the risen Savior

Walked the earth in flesh again.

As I rehearsed the song and sang it in worship, verse 5 kept coming to mind.  I thought about how all of us (like the disciples) are locked away in our homes, and, if you’re like my family, cooking many more meals than usual.  What occurred to me was that Jesus is not just present in the bread of Communion, but in every meal we eat together.  Yes, Jesus is with us as we gather as church family, but Jesus is also with us and our families at home.  Jesus joins us at all of our tables, Jesus is present in every meal we eat together, and, even in our homes, Jesus can be revealed.

Let us pray.

O God, your Son makes himself known to all his disciples in the breaking of bread. Open the eyes of our faith, that we may see him in his redeeming work, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

*Text: 87 87 © 1998 Joseph Reuter. Text published by OCP. All rights reserved.  Used with permission under OneLicense #A-709305.