I understand that the title of this blog will raise all kinds of questions. Why sixty stadia? Is that like Old Trafford or the Nou Camp? Neither, it’s like seven miles.Sixty stadia is the distance between Jerusalem and Emmaus; it’s also the distance between confused despair and hope, between mourning and gladness, between fear and boldness. It’s the difference between trudging off with our shoulders slumped and taking the gospel to our world with vigour. For Cleopas and his fellow traveller their world lay in disarray. The one they had trusted and followed had been hung from a tree, the future they had believed in seemed all but gone and the light of their hope had been extinguished. Heck, even the sky itself went dark and did you hear about the veil in the temple? Rent clean in two.
A walk of sixty stadia would take between two and three hours and as they go they find they have company. Good company. Company that talks with knowledge and with clarity, that shows them so much and fans the flames of their soul back into life so that by the time they reach Emmaus they beg him to stay longer. This isn’t calm in their storm, oh no, this is a bigger storm. This is a tempest, this is hope rising.
So the traveller stays. He breaks bread and as he blesses it everything becomes clear. He disappears. The jaws of the inn keeper and patrons hit the floor – how’d that guy do that? And now Cleopas is clammering for the bill. He’s not staying the night after all – can’t wait to get out of the door and head back to Jerusalem.
The return journey is quicker, their hearts are burning and they have news to give. It took sixty stadia to turn their lives back around. It took sixty stadia for hopelessness to exit the stage and be replaced by hope. Their reaction is as ours should be when we hear the word; ‘didn’t our hearts burn within us?’ The word hit them in raw and powerful form and then? They had to act, they didn’t waste a moment.
That’s the effect that the word should have on us. They didn’t know who was speaking when they walked but yet their hearts burned and set them to action. This is because Jesus is the word. Always was, John tells us that. When we hear the word, when we talk together about the word, then Jesus is there and we’re called to act.
This is my blog. It’s my personal blog but I’m a Christian and what I want to talk about is relative and relevant to that. Most of what I post will be directly a result of faith. Telling you what I had for lunch, while highly tempting, won’t benefit either of us. Talking about the Word, however, will.