Now that very day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus… Jesus himself approached and began to accompany them…When he had taken his place at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. At this point their eyes were opened and they recognized him. They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us while he was speaking with us on the road?”
(Luke 24: 13, 15, 30-33, New English Translation)
I Know You
by Kathy Beck

Visiting Seattle some years ago, I noticed a sign at a UCC Church: “Labyrinth tomorrow." The next day I was the only one there. As I turned to begin the journey out of the labyrinth, a man entered the room. He was perhaps in his mid-sixties, wearing a watch cap and a worn duffel coat.  He removed his shoes, placed his scuffed briefcase under a chair, then at the entrance to the labyrinth bowed and began to walk.

As we approached one another, I coming out and he going in, I noticed his feet in threadbare socks. The feet were gnarled and painful-looking, marking the miles he had probably walked.  He stepped courteously aside to allow me to pass and I looked up into his face. His deep brown eyes were totally accepting and when he smiled his tired face was transformed.  “I know you,” his eyes said.  I felt my heart clutch. “I’ve seen Jesus,” I thought. “I’ve seen Jesus in the labyrinth!”

But wait—there’s more. Several years later, I was in downtown Los Angeles when I happened to glance across the street. There at the bus stop sat a man: watch cap, duffel coat, scuffed briefcase. He caught my eye, gave me that same warm smile and raised a hand in greeting. A bolt of electricity shot through me. “I know you!”

Jesus in the labyrinth, Jesus at the bus stop, Jesus in the midst of my life. That must be the way the two disciples felt when they met him on the road to Emmaus, that same burning heart, that same breathless wonder. “The Lord has really risen!” (v.35)
Jesus, help us to recognize you when wherever we encounter you. May our hearts burn and our eyes be opened.  Amen.