"Who Are You Who Walk in Sorrow"
"Who are you who walk in sorrow down Emmaus' barren road, Hearts distraught and hope defeated, bent beneath grief's crushing load? Nameless mourners, we will join you, we who also mourn our dead; We have stood by graves unyielding, eaten death's bare, bitter bread.
"Who are You? Our hearts are opened in the breaking of the bread—Christ the victim, now the Victor living, risen from the dead! Great Companion on our journey, still surprise us with Your grace! Make each day a new Emmaus; on our hearts Your image trace!"
On the first Easter day, two of Jesus' followers started walking to the village of Emmaus. Perhaps they had business there or maybe they wanted to put some distance between themselves and recent troubling events in Jerusalem. They walked along the road in sorrow with "hearts distraught and hope defeated." Jesus the Messiah was dead, or so they thought, and they "had hoped that He was the One to redeem Israel" (Luke 24:21a).
As the two disciples continued on their journey, a stranger joined them and asked about their sorrowful conversation. The unknown traveler then provided a lesson from the Scriptures about the death—and resurrection!—of the Messiah. The stranger asked, "Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?" (Luke 24:26). He explained the prophecies that pointed to the Messiah and His saving work. Suddenly, it all made sense: the cross, the grief, and the triumph. As the hearts and minds of the two disciples were opened to understand the Scriptures, in the breaking of the bread their eyes were opened to recognize the risen Lord.
At some point in our lives, we will walk along our own Emmaus roads. As our hymn reminds us, we will stand "by graves unyielding," our own or of those we love. We may lose hope and see the future shattered by grief and loss. Yet even though we may not realize that He is present, our risen Savior walks beside us, our "great Companion on our journey." He opens our hearts and minds to understand the Scriptures as He reveals His triumph over death and the gift of eternal life in His presence. Those graves are not unyielding after all, and we too will rise!
In the breaking of bread in His Holy Supper, we recognize Jesus' presence with us as we receive His body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins. The Emmaus roads on which we may travel do not have to be lonely and frightening. In fact, we pray in our hymn that our Lord would "make each day a new Emmaus" because He is walking right beside us. Where else would we want to be?
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, walk with me every day on my Emmaus road. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Who Are You Who Walk in Sorrow," which is number 476 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. With their hopes dashed by Jesus' death, what might the two disciples have been talking about?
2. What did the two disciples apparently not grasp about Jesus' mission prior to His crucifixion?
3. Why is Holy Communion so important as a way to strengthen our faith?
Today's Bible Readings: 1 Samuel 1-3 Luke 17:20-37
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