Easter Monday. All sorted, then. We’ve had the glorious light of new life and the future is all bright.

Well, not quite. Like everything in life, the end is always just a new beginning. And the beginning will demand of us not some sort of relaxation into spiritual satisfaction, but a new engagement. The journey continues.

The text I always go to today is Luke’s account of the two friends of Jesus walking back from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaus. They are still trying to work out what the whole Jesus experience was about. He wasn’t supposed to die – that doesn’t fit the theological or political template for ‘messiah’. Now, you can come to terms with the finitude of death – after all, it is an incontrovertibly factual phenomenon. But, how are we supposed to make sense of the reports that the dead man is now appearing to his friends again – the same, but different; recognisable, but strange. And those wound marks …

How to make sense of this? How to fit experience into a fixed theology or re-shape theology in order to account for real experience?

So, as they walk together – possibly a married couple – they try to work it out and get nowhere. Then a stranger comes from behind and joins them on their walk through the hills. But, instead of simply telling them how to make sense of it all (which would have saved a bit of time and proved his credentials), he asks them what they are talking about. They tell him: the weird stuff that has been going on in Jerusalem. “What stuff?” he asks. “Are you the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on?” they ask. Jesus willing to sound ignorant, irrelevant, out of touch?

Jesus lets them tell their story in their terms. Only when they have framed it in their way – noting that it doesn’t compute – does Jesus offer to re-tell the story of God and his people in a way that re-describes both experience and theology.

Yet, it is only when they get to the couple’s home that they eventually recognise who their accompanier was. Yes, the penny dropped while they were breaking bread together; but, what they noted was that their hearts had been burning within them while they were listening to him ‘re-describe reality’ (in Brueggemann’s phrase) and frame the Scriptures afresh.

And us?

Today we are invited to walk – maybe for the first time – in the company of others who don’t quite ‘get it’, asking the real and powerful questions and trying together to work it all out. No just saying “This is the word of the Lord” as we so readily do in church, but, rather, a wrestling with the meaning of this stuff as if our life depended on it. Taking it (and Jesus) seriously by arguing with him and listening to him. Not just passing on as if he is theologically interesting so long as he demands no shaking up of me or my thinking.

The Church’s calendar takes from Easter on a journey of re-discovering this Jesus – rehearsing the story and trying to hear it afresh. It invites us to find someone else, read the story again together, argue the toss about what it all means, and see where it leads. (Which might be back to Jerusalem, but changed by what happened on the way to our Emmaus.)

That is the point of the church in the days to come.And we can do this on the phone, on Zoom, on FaceTime, or in any other medium. We can do it over the garden fence or across the balconies. We can do it any way we like.

We just need to take it seriously enough to do it. The journey starts with a single step.