...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

When pain is all around (5 & 6)

Station #5: Jesus appears to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Station #6: He is recognized in the breaking of the bread.

And it came about that while they were conversing and discussing, Jesus Himself approached, and [began] traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him....

[And] their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?" And they arose that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, saying, "The Lord has really risen, and has appeared to Simon." And they [began] to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread. Luke 24: 15-16, 31-37 NASB

With our hearing healed in Station 4, 5 and 6 are all about seeing with the eyes of faith. The road that these disciples travel is one which takes them away from Jerusalem, the place of terrible defeat and broken dreams. Their journey also was taking them away from faith community. When I'm crushed, I just want to be alone. We can't blame any disciples for running away from the trouble that was to find them if they continued to hang out in Jerusalem. Getting as far away as quickly as possible would be the smart thing to do.

What does it mean that, even as I travel in the wrong direction, Jesus still accompanies me? That in all futility and hopelessness, God's love holds me? Think of any and all situations. The fact that God still walks alongside me as Paraclete is true, whether I walk through the darkest valley (Psalm 23:4, NRSV), or suffer public humiliation. (Romans 8: 35)

Don't disillusioned disciples, blinded by pain all around, need a tangible sign, a sacramental act, in which to know and recognize Jesus' presence? Did Luke have Psalm 23 in the back of his mind? The Good Shepherd himself prepares table for us- and is known in the breaking of the bread.

The recovery of sight to the blind is offered at this stop. (Luke 4:18) Don't miss it!

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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