Stuck on the Road to Emmaus
They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?"
—LUKE 24:32, NRSV
Frankly, it's hard to figure out in middle-class, twentieth-century North America what it means to follow Jesus. It's hard to discern what dying to self looks like in any given instance. Do I pursue a job promotion, or is this "selfish ambition and vain conceit"? Do I take a holiday in the Bahamas, or is this a damnable failure to be "rich toward God," a failure to give to someone in need when I have material possessions? Can I buy a season's pass at a ski resort, or is this gross self-indulgence?
Most Christians I meet feel stuck. They started a journey, but somewhere, somehow, got stranded. They feel like they're living on the border. There they sit, swapping rumors about God. Or they just stop talking about God at all. They can talk about everything else with ease and eloquence, but their tongues thicken, twist, grow mute about naming and proclaiming God. And this: they feel that the most their faith amounts to is just that: mere talk. They've joined a talking cult.
Where is this huge, exultant freedom for which Christ set us free? Why do I still fret over downturns in Asian markets, get irked by reckless or doddering drivers, harbor grudges over petty slights, care more about my rhododendron bush than about the soul of the boy who broke its branches playing street hockey? Why can I sustain a capacity to explore, in my mind, vast tracts of an imaginary world, but can barely focus my prayers on God for more than 30 seconds at a go?
The most wondrous, breath taking truth I've ever contemplated is the story of the triune God and his ways with humanity—with ...