Recognized

Scripture selection: Luke 24:30

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.

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared numerous times to his disciples.  He comforted them, taught them, and commissioned them to carry on the work he had begun.  There is one particular appearance, however, that is particularly striking.

Luke records that Jesus appeared to two of the disciples who were traveling along discussing what had happened to Jesus, and to them.  When Jesus first appears to them – and begins walking beside them – they are somehow kept from recognizing them.  He begins to teach them, opening their minds and their hearts to the meaning of all that has happened.  When they arrive at their destination, they ask this wise stranger to stay with them a bit longer.  He does and they eat together.

It is at that moment, in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup, that they recognize the risen Lord.  Then he vanishes from their sight.

What a powerful story.

Reminiscent of the Lord’s Supper, of the great symbolism found in the broken bread and poured out wine, here Jesus is only recognized in the sharing of a holy meal once again.

Two thousand years later, believers all around the world – whenever they celebrate a Mass, or the Eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper, or Communion – recognize the presence of the risen Lord in their midst.

It is a powerful aspect of the faith and it calls us all to see Him, recognize Him, give thanks for Him, and most of all remember Him.

In the bread and the cup – where two or three or a thousand are gathered in His name – there He is with them – with us – once again.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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