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Luke 24:13-35

Stanly Lake in Idaho’s Sawtooth wilderness is my favorite place on earth. Look it up on google images when you have a moment. For me, McGown Peak towering over the placid lake water is a primal beauty that is unrivaled by anything we can create architecturally or cinematically.  However, the beauty is only part of what draws me back to this place year after year. 

No matter what I may be going through, Stanly Lake has a powerful way of grounding me. As I approach the mountain range on the road and see the first peak on the horizon, all of the mess of my life begins to be pulled from me. I begin to contemplate all that is my existence. As I set up camp, my mind struggles with all my frustrations, fears, sorrows, and heartbrokenness. All that I don’t understand, but desperately seek comes to the surface. That first night’s sleep is always a restless one.

Then I am awakened by the sun, the sound of trout rising on the lake, and the smell of pine mingled with the essence of last night’s campfire. The grandeur of God’s creation reminds me that I am more than my daily grind. Its splendor reminds me that my value is not defined by my failures or the rejection of others. How small I feel while getting lost in the immensity of the wilderness reminds me that I am part of something greater than my own story. As soon as I cast my first dry fly out on top of the water, I am eight years old again fishing with my dad, innocent, protected, free, wild, and filled with the wonder of possibilities. In its silence, the words of God can be heard. As I drive home and return to normal life, I am continually haunted by its grounding presence. My eyes well up even now as I tell you about these things. I am eager to return to that sacred space.

This haunting, this desire for grounding is much of what was in the two disciples’ hearts as they traveled those seven miles on the road between Jerusalem to Emmaus. Let me describe what I mean by this.

Last week we were looking at John’s post-resurrection account. It was the evening of the first Easter and the disciples were in a locked room filled with fear. We see a similar picture in Luke. This is also the evening of the first Easter. As the disciples traveled, they too were stunned and left in grief stricken confusion by all they had seen and heard that day, as well as the previous week. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other female apostles with them who told the news of the resurrected Lord to the rest of the apostles (v 10). But the rest of the apostles were only left disturbed