Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” Luke 24:13-17 (NIV)
Today, I had planned on going horseback riding. Instead, I went to my second funeral of the week. My boss’ step dad died, and while I thought it best to go, I went reluctantly. Not just because I was missing my ride, but because the service was at a church of a denomination unfamiliar to me. One with much ritual. I was not feeling comfortable about being there. In situations like that, I always say, “Okay, God. I know there are no coincidences with You. I am here for a reason, so help me see that reason.” I assumed I was there to help someone else. Little did I know, He wanted me there so He could help me! Contrary to my fears, the service was lovely. While there were some rote recitations of creed and scripture, some songs sung in Latin and some ritual, the entire service revolved around the theme of walking with God. The message was exceptionally comforting and familiar. The priest spoke of the dead man with friendship and love, telling stories of his life, making the congregation laugh and smile at points. He also explained the story of the two who encountered the resurrected Jesus on the Road to Emmaus told in the verses above. He joked that the two must have been a husband and wife because they were having a “discussion” as they walked along. I laughed because isn’t that just the way of married couples? But, he added that Jesus came upon them just where they were and used their situation to begin a dialogue with them that eventually led them to God. He stated that as Christians or “Little Christs” as the name translates, we too, are called to remind all we encounter of Jesus and His resurrection and the salvation it brings. The sermon was very inspiring. So was the music. Two hymns were some we sing at my church, Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art. Two were unfamiliar, but with wonderful lyrics. One, based on the 23rd Psalm, had a refrain that said, “Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears from death into life.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQqJF-2ijhg
The other was called “Be Not Afraid.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hup6wQ17XRI&feature=related
The words state:
You shall cross the barren desert,
But you shall not die of thirst
You shall wander far in safety,
Though you do not know the way,
You shall speak your words in foreign lands
And all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.
Be not – afraid –
I go before you always
Come follow me –
And I will give you
If you pass through raging waters
In the sea you shall not drown.
If you walk among the burning flames,
You shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the power of hell
And death is at your side,
Know that I am with you through it all.
Blessed are your poor,
For the Kingdom shall be theirs,
Blest are you that weep and morn
For one day you shall laugh,
And if wicked men insult and hate you
All because of Me,
Blessed, – blessed – are you.
If you don’t know the impact that those words had upon me, go back and read my last post. Not only is this song based upon youngest son’s favorite Bible verse, Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go,” but the situations described there are exactly the ones that I fear for my son should he find a way to go to Haiti or should he stay home and get a job as a firefighter. Thirst, unsafe conditions, language barriers, raging water, flames, death. Then, look at the last line of the first verse, “You shall see the face of God and live.” I said I got it yesterday, but today, I really do.