Our last reading for 2012 -- I hope these comments and this reading have been a blessing to all of you who have been reading along with me and following these blogs. The Christ Church community will be embarking on a new reading plan for 2013 -- visit our web site: www.christchurchamherst.org for the list and directions.
Luke 24 is the resurrection of Jesus. It begins 1-12 with the discovery of the empty tomb. Most of the time we don't need to be taught, we need to be reminded of what we already know. The angel in the tomb replies (as will Jesus in a later encounter) he told you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again (7)." It is a curious fact of the resurrection story that the first bearers of the good news were women and would not have been able to give testimony of the courts of the time. One scandal of the early Christian movement is that women were the first evangelists.
The Emmaus story (13-35) tells of an encounter between the risen Christ and two disciples -- one unnamed the other with the Egyptian name of Cleopas which is the masculine form of the name Cleopatra. Jesus greets them, speaks to them, teaches them but they do not recognize him until they arrive at the table in Emmaus and Jesus blesses and breaks the bread "then their eyes were opened and they recognized him (31)." This rather obvious communion imagery is significant in the life of the early Christian movement. It matters to us because it moves the understanding of communion from "Last Supper" and the doom and gloom of Holy Thursday to a moment of recognition and new understanding and celebration of the resurrected Christ!
Returning to Jerusalem (35) they hear that Jesus has appeared to Peter and the others when he has dined with them, taught them and commissioned them. The language is a little different than in Matthew 28 but the intent is the same "You are witnesses of these things. and see I am sending upon you what my Father promised . . . (47-48). Jesus ascends to heaven and the apostles are left waiting for Pentecost.