Recently I’ve started going on a daily(ish) walk. I work from home and I found that whole days were passing when I wasn’t leaving my flat. That coupled with the fact that Autumn is my favourite season (no pollen and sunshine is a win as far as I’m concerned!) and the shortcut to the local Aquadrome my husband showed me has encouraged me to get out my rarely worn trainers and get walking. (I thought it took an hour – it actually only takes 10 minutes)
I’ve been enjoying the walk. The first few walks my husband came with me because I’m not so great at the directions, sometimes I walk in silence, sometimes with music and sometimes with an audiobook. Sometimes, I invite people round for coffee and make them come with me.
Even on the most beautiful days; my walk is better with a companion. For a start, I know that I’m less likely to get lost and secondly, it’s just nice to be walking alongside someone.
And I feel like Cleopas needed his unnamed friend on his walk to Road to Emmaus in Luke’s gospel. The Message describes them as ‘long faced’. It seems to me that they are walking through a haze of grief and then this stranger turns up and asks them what’s wrong.
The week that had passed would have been the talk of the whole community; the story of that Friday; the freeing of Barrabas, the crucifixion of Jesus when they’d hoped he’d be the one to free them from Roman rule, the darkness, the torn temple curtain.
And of course Jesus knew the story, it was His story! But the first part of the journey is about Jesus listening to Cleopas.
It’s something that still strikes me as shocking. Jesus; who was there when the stars were placed into the night sky and the sea was separated from the land listens to Cleopas.
“It’s compelling to realise that the very first thing Jesus does in the post-resurrection era is come alongside and journey with men in their valley of trouble.”
After all that He has been through in the days that have passed; the night of blood soaked tears, the betrayal by his closest friends, the humiliating death and the day in the silence, Jesus spends his first morning listening to a couple of heartbroken friends.
Psalm 107 says “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their stories” and Jesus is doing this. Even though he knows more about the events that have passed than they do, he wants to listen to Cleopas share with Him.
He is the same with us today.
God knows our stories, he knows the happiest chapters and he knows the most desperate, He’s been there all along, but He wants us to share our stories with Him, to talk to Him in prayer, ask for what we need and praise Him for what we have.
Jesus holds out a hand and encourages us to keep walking, because He walks with us through the darkness of our hopeless and He doesn’t let go.