This coming Sunday's Gospel lesson hit home for me this morning in a rather amusing way -- not particularly surprising, if you know me, but amusing nonetheless.
I left the house for work in my usual state of rushed disarray, compounded by taking in the last half hour of the papal funeral, preoccupation with my cranky octogenarian mama and the bleariness of sleep deprivation. (I’m still looking for that hour I lost on Sunday; and my dog, for reasons known only to himself, has decided that 4:00 a.m. is now time for breakfast.) Forty-five miles later, as I was getting out of the car, I noticed that my pants were not the color that they should have been. They were navy blue. They were supposed to be black, to match the black-and-tan rest of me. The pants I thought I was reaching for this morning were still on their hanger, a county away. So today I've been a big ol’ Fashion Don’t; I look like a walking bruise.
Sometimes we just don’t see things. Because we’re not paying attention. Because we’re tired or sad or mad or multitasking or woolgathering.
I’ve done this to people too. I’ll be in the supermarket, in hyperactive mode, running around to grab some forgotten grocery…and I’ll walk right past someone I know. I just don’t see them. (Fortunately most of my friends and coworkers are used to my overcaffeinated personality, and cut me some slack.)
I love the Emmaus story. I love Jesus’ mischievous interaction with his disheartened friends: “Things happening in Jerusalem? Oh, really? What things?” I love the way he explains the story to them again, and how it still doesn’t click for them; it makes you wonder what they were thinking as they were listening to this articulate stranger doing theology as they walked along. I love the way Jesus pretends to want to keep going on down the road, and how his traveling companions urge him to stay and eat with them instead. (They at least got the table fellowship part right.) And, most of all, I love that “aha” moment when they finally see Jesus for who he really is. I’d call that the biggest surprise party of them all.
Elsewhere in the Gospels we read of Jesus encountering a blind man, asking him, “What do you want me to do for you?” and the man earnestly responding, “Lord, I want to see.”
Lord, I want to see. I want to see you. I want to see you when I’m so sad that it seems impossible to see you anywhere. I want to see you when I’m so happy that I’m in danger of floating off into the ether and forgetting you. I want to see you when I am so appalled at my own behavior and thoughts that I'm afraid to look up. I want to see you in my sisters and brothers in Christ, even when they mess up. I want to see you in the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised, the marginalized…and I also want to see you in people who make me uncomfortable and angry -- people in whom, deep down, I really don't want to see you. I want to see you in the world that surrounds me – the world that Scripture tells us came to be in you and through you and for you.
Lord, help me see you.
Les pelerins d'Emmaus by Corinne Vonaesch