Wild Lectionary: Homeless, Unrecognized on the Road

Emmaus by Melanie Delva

Third Sunday of Easter
Luke 24:13-35

By Ched Myers

The gospel story begins with Jesus’ family fleeing violence as political refugees, pushed around Palestine by the imperial forces of Caesar and Herod (Matt 1–2; Luke 1–2). The adult Jesus not only characterizes himself as homeless, “the Human One has nowhere to lay his head” (Luke 9:58), but stateless. “My kingdom is not of this world,” he says before the Roman procurator (John 18:36). The evangelists also portray Jesus as a constant recipient of hospitality who sometimes even “invites himself in” (Luke 19:5). Moreover, Jesus insists that his “dependent” status should be embraced by disciples, instructing us to conduct our missionary efforts not as a projection of power but as vulnerable itinerants reliant on the hospitality of those to whom we are sent (Mark 6:8–11). How different the history of Christendom would have been had that simple stipulation been heeded!

Executed as a dissident and buried like a common criminal, Jesus “suffered outside the gate” of the metropolis, and it is there that believers are told to encounter him (Heb 13:12f). Moreover, the early church believed that Jesus’ resurrection did not resolve his marginalized social condition but intensified it. He appears unrecognized as a wayfaring stranger in the Emmaus Road story of Luke 24. And Matthew 25 portrays the risen Christ as hidden in the world among the marginalized: if we want to commune with him, we must show hospitality to them.

Excerpted from Our God is Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice Myers and Colwell, Orbis, 2012.

Ched Myers is an activist theologian who has worked in social change movements for forty years. With a Masters degree in New Testament Studies, he is a popular educator who animates Scripture and issues of faith-based peace and justice. He has published over 100 articles and more than a half-dozen books. He and his partner Elaine Enns codirect Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries in the Ventura River watershed, traditional Chumash territory, in southern California.

Melanie Delva is the new animator for reconciliation for the Anglican Church of Canada. She makes art, swims in the Salish Sea, hugs jellyfish and resides in Vancouver, BC on land that was stolen from Coast Salish peoples.

Wild Lectionary is curated by Laurel Dykstra, Priest in Charge of Salal + Cedar, Coast Salish Territory.

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