“The experience on the road to Emmaus” was chosen as the theme for the year 2014’s Watch- Night Service, which took place just few days back. And the Bible passage was taken from Luke 24:13-35. I thought it might be a good for me to start the first pastoral column of 2015 by restating what were the key elements shared at that service.
The passage of Luke 24:13-35 reminds us of the road travelled from Jerusalem to Emmaus by two disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some Bible commentators have likened this journey as “worship movements” before God. And these movements can be seen as parallels to experiences of a Sunday worship service. In the book, “The Worship Architect” by Constance M.Cherry, she drew for us the following few “movements”.
1. Christ approaches his followers (Luke 24:13-24). This is similar to every Sunday, where we are invited into the worship service. And we come into the presence of God the Father, His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We come from all kinds of background and all kinds of life situations. Very likely, we may also come in the same state of spiritual conditions of the two disciples. Their hearts’ were filled with sadness, dejection and they could also be uncertain about “who they are” and “what are their beliefs and convictions”. Very likely too, we can be like what Luke had described about these disciples, “But their eyes were kept from recognising him”
2. Christ engages them in the Scriptures (Luke 24:25-27). On Sundays, we are given the opportunity to listen to God’s Word being shared and preached. In the Emmaus’s journey, we noted that the Lord Jesus Christ was keenly enthusiastic over the spiritual conditions of the disciples. Throughout the seven miles walk, Jesus taught them the Scriptures, beginning with Moses and all the Prophets. He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Jesus knows the great needs in our lives and in our hearts. And the most needed is the listening and studying of His Word. Are our hearts ready to listen to God’s Word on each Sunday morning as we come into His presence? Are we in the category of “cafeteria Christians” who choose to study only certain portion of God’s Word, instead of the whole counsel of the Word? Or do we belong to those who choose to only to listen to certain speakers of God’s Word? Are we willing to let God engage us in and through the Scriptures?
3. Christ’s identity is known at the Lord’s Supper (Luke 24:28-32). The two disciples on the road to Emmaus, finally recognized the Lord Jesus, after they have come into the presence of God. The listening and the understanding of Jesus’ teaching coupled with the breaking of the Bread at the table, finally brought the identity of their Lord to them. In Bethesda Chapel,we observe the biblical tradition of celebrating the Lord’s Supper on every Sunday. Has this privilege of partaking of the Lord’s Supper for us (who are baptised believers) kept us in close fellowship and reminding us of our identity with our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ? Do we experience what the disciples’ had experienced at the Lord’s supper, an enlightenment described as “And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him”?
I ended the 2014’s Watch-Night service by reiterating that as believers in the Christian faith, we are given a very unique experience on every Sunday when we congregate for a worship service. It is in this service, that we are able to reflect, be taught, freely receive and go forth to improve on a journey experience that we brought with us as we entered into the worship service. We pray that the disciples’ experience on the road to Emmaus will encourage all of us to want to walk closely with God; leaning and heeding His instruction from His Word.
On behalf of the Church Council, may I wish all of you a Blessed New Year 2015 and may your journey with God be one that is intimate and fruitful in all ways.
Elder Andrew Lim