Bible Reading: Luke 24:13-17, 28-31
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" They stood still, their faces downcast.
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
I don’t know much about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and I certainly haven’t been through the experiences that some of our armed forces have been through in Iraq or that NHS staff have been through during this pandemic, but there was a time about five years ago when I went through a time of anxiety and stress.
It was about eighteen months after our daughter Anna died, and six months after we went though a major re-organisation in my previous parish, following the retirement and non-replacement of a clergy colleague. Anna had been ill for three years and the re-organisation at work had taken around twelve months. I felt I had come through both traumas quite well; it was only afterwards that the stress and anxiety kicked in. My doctor prescribed medication which didn’t help. I wasn’t ill in that sense. It was talking and prayer that helped me get some perspective and navigate my way through to a sense of wellbeing.
Like many couples, Helen and I had talked a lot about both situations but, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we just ended up feeling downcast. We needed another perspective, someone from outside the situation, someone who would listen.
Talking really helps. So does the realisation that, as we walk along through life, and as we talk about our different situations, Jesus is there walking along with us, helping us to gain some perspective and to see things from his point of view. And we can talk to him. Prayer, at its heart, is just talking to God. And listening, of course.
Lord Jesus, as I walk along each day, open my eyes to see you walking with me. Help me to see my life from your perspective.
Standing on this mountain top – never once did we ever walk alone.