If we take a minute to think about what might have been going through the mind of Cleopas and his unnamed companion as they began their walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus, the contrast to their return journey just a few verses (and hours) later could not be sharper. From a place of hopelessness and despair at the loss of their friend and leader, to sheer joy and excitement at the realisation that all that was said about Jesus is true! God's saviour overcoming the power of sin and death with the promise of new life for anyone who believes in him.
When I'm around post-primary schools as much as I am...or at least as I was until recently, it is easy to notice things in the way that pupils walk into school or between classes. Some will bounce around, the life of the party, excitedly chatting to friends. Others will walk quietly and still others move reluctantly, as if each footstep costs them something. The passage above from Luke's gospel helps to remind us that the world throws both the good and the bad at us. That some days our walk will be carefree and on others it will be costly. The same can be true in our walk with God.
I love how the conversation between Jesus and the two companions on the road to Emmaus spurs the pair on. Before they know it they've reached the house they're going to. And when they reflect on what has happened, later on, they say as much: Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road? (24:32) The impact that meeting with Jesus has on our lives can never be underestimated. And the impact that Jesus can have on the lives of the young men and women in our schools can never be underestimated. By bringing that presence of Jesus into schools we hope to enable these young people to make the choice of asking Jesus to walk alongside them through the tough times and the good.
So much has happened in just a couple of months. Like these followers of Jesus you might be feeling unsettled or anxious. Perhaps you're grieving the loss of certain freedoms, or maybe something more than this. I hope and pray that you are not. Yet in these darkest of moments we look towards the light. The light of life who broke the curse of darkness. Who rose from the grave and immediately sought to comfort those he loved. The one who loves us and calls us by name.
Stay safe, stay positive, stay close to our God.
Andrew Neill, E3 Schools' Worker, North Coast
Below is one of the online Assemblies
Click below to download the files.