The Uniting Church acknowledges that Christ has commanded his Church to proclaim the Gospel both in words and in the two visible acts of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Christ himself acts in and through everything that the Church does in obedience to his commandment: it is Christ who by the gift of the Spirit confers the forgiveness, the fellowship, the new life and the freedom which the proclamation and actions promise; and it is Christ who awakens, puriﬁes and advances in people the faith and hope in which alone such beneﬁts can be accepted.
The Uniting Church acknowledges that the continuing presence of Christ with his people is signified and sealed by Christ in the Lord’s Supper or the Holy Communion, constantly repeated in the life of the Church. In this sacrament of his broken body and outpoured blood the risen Lord feeds his baptised people on their way to the final inheritance of the Kingdom. Thus the people of God, through faith and the gift and power of the Holy Spirit, have communion with their Saviour, make their sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, proclaim the Lord’s death, grow together into Christ, are strengthened for their participation in the mission of Christ in the world, and rejoice in the foretaste of the Kingdom which Christ will bring to consummation. ― Paragraphs 6 & 8, Basis of Union, Uniting Church Press, 1992
Two dispirited disciples are trudging their weary way to Emmaus, presumably their home. They are joined by a third, a stranger. This stranger seems not to know the latest and most tragic news concerning the death of Jesus, who they thought had been sent by God to deliver them. It was the third day since Jesus had been executed; there was some more news, but it was scarcely credible:
… some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.
In the Gospel According to Luke, the women believe when they see a vision of angels. Peter also goes, but sees only an empty tomb.
The testimony of the women was not enough to convince the men. The women, including Mary Magdalene,
told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to [the men] an idle tale, and they did not believe them. [Luke 24.11]
The women’s report was not sufficient for the men to put their faith in the resurrection of Jesus.
So, that evening, the ‘Emmaus Two’ are leaving Jerusalem for the familiarity of home, their dreams shattered, the empty tomb meaning nothing to them.
We know their new companion is the risen Jesus, but they don’t know it yet.
There’s something here about how the risen Jesus comes to us in a hidden way. He doesn’t jump in front of these two as they’re walking and shout ‘Ta-dah! It’s me!’ He is hidden from them; perhaps he is also hidden from us. Maybe we too encounter him sometimes, and we don’t realise it.
Perhaps our eyes are closed to Jesus, or even our minds. The Emmaus Two’s eyes were opened — let’s see how.