The two disciples of Jesus are depressed. They know Jesus has died, but they don’t know he has risen from the dead. Sure that morning they’d heard stories but, I imagine, they figured what they’d heard just amounted to women making up fairy tales. Understandable conclusion.
Anyway, they meet a stranger on the road who is the risen Jesus, but they don’t see this, at least not at first. What these two disciples do from the first moment they meet the stranger is open the door – literally and figuratively. They open up to the stranger in conversation. They open up their minds and hearts to him as they let him teach them as all three of them walk along the road. And then, most famously, they open up the door of their home and invite the unrecognized Christ to their table, a table he quickly makes his own.
It is through this opening of “their doors” that they recognize Jesus, they feel warmth replacing coldness in their hearts, and they receive a new vigor and purpose for life. I imagine that if they wouldn’t have opened the doors – which would have been an understandable and safe decision – they would have missed out on seeing Jesus and being renewed themselves.
So it is with us – as individuals, as families, and as congregations. It is hard to become more and more open to others, especially if we have been hurt in the past. And, it is often safer and easier if we simply stay closed. But, what do we lose if we move toward becoming more and more closed off instead of becoming more and more open to others as we journey through life?
Recently there was a very good book that became an ok movie. Its name is Warm Bodies. It is a fantastically wild story that’s told from the perspective of a zombie named R. R shuffles about and grunts and eats people when he gets the chance, but inside his head he is active, alert, and alive.
The body and heart of R, and presumably those of all the other zombies he “lives” with in a broken down airport, have been closed down by some unremembered plague. And, for very understandable reasons, the remaining uninfected people left in the world have shut all the doors they could. The uninfected people have closed themselves up in a fortress city. They are, understandably, trying to stay un-eaten while they shoot as many zombies as possible and eke out an existence.
But something unexpected and unexplainable happens. R decides to open up and protect a human named Julie instead of consuming her. This one act of opening a door by caring for a stranger slowly starts a ripple effect that restarts zombie hearts and just maybe creates a new trajectory for the future of the world.
Ridiculous, I know. But true. It was true on the Emmaus road. It is true so often for us.
What is one part of your life, one relationship, one situation, one use of your words, your actions, or your money where you can open up to someone else just a little more than you were before?
You may recognize Christ in the process of opening the door. You may even feel your heart warm and beat with new life.