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Hallo again to all.

Many churches in the Anglican Communion heard this Sunday the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, one of the most beloved tellings of the post-resurrection appearances of our Lord. We were struck today by an aspect of the narrative that seems to have been left on the cutting-room floor, as it were. Christ expounded the scriptures at great length to his companions on the road, yet we don't have any record of what he said, of what that exposition actually was. We are left instead with the picture of Someone recognised — and remembered — in the homely, intimate act of blessing food and eating it. Astonishing.

On the Emmaus roadRather than Christ's words on His own life and ministry, His small ordinary action at table was what identified Him without doubt to his disciples. This matter of identification — of what reveals the essence of a person — is a fascinating one. For the disciples, it didn't occur during a dissertation, but at dinner.

If all but one of the characteristics of personality were subtracted from us, which one should remain to distinguish us as Christians? Surely it is a large heartedness, a stubborn never-give-up love for men and women, for humanity, that can extend, wonder of wonders, even to those who would hate and harm us. Call it 'love'.

In this time of difficulty in the Anglican Communion, when harsh and bitter accusations and cynical scheming seem to be all 'round — much of it based on disputes about what Holy Scripture 'says' or implies about the proper nature of love, marriage, and sexual relations — we wonder if our Lord would recognise us, His followers as we make our way through our disputes.

Surely our disagreements within the church should, in some manner, be 'different' from those in secular life. Shouldn't we play by different rules? Mingy-mindedness and small-heartedness shouldn't be the the manner in which we're 'branded': 'Oh, look at those Christians: you can know them by their cynicism...'

This Eastertide, we're doing our level best to 'love large'. To those with whom we disagree, we'll put the best possible construction on their motives and behaviour. Where we're inclined to be casually jaded, we'll try to be realistically even-tempered. This isn't a matter of going about in a disgustingly cheerful 'Jesus-wants-me-for-a-sunbeam' sort of way, but facing these days in our wobbly Communion with the sure and certain hope promised to us this and every Eastertide. And acting accordingly.

Go forth into the world in peace;
be of good courage;
hold fast to
that which is good;
render to no-one evil for evil;
strengthen the faint-hearted;
support the weak;
help the afflicted;
honour all people;
love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

See you next week. And on the road.

Cynthia's signature
Brian's signature
Cynthia McFarland
Brian Reid

Last updated: 10 April 2005

A thin blue line
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