Emmaus ~ A Poem

Jason Micheli —  February 28, 2014 — Leave a comment

imagesWe conclude our Revolution of the Heart series this weekend with Luke’s 2nd story of Resurrection, the encounter on the road to Emmaus. Oddly in over 12 years of preaching this is the first time I’ve ever preached from this familiar text, which suggests I’ve done a fair job of avoiding it until now.

I recently had a conversation with poet/undertaker Thomas Lynch for a future podcast, in which we talked poetry, prose, preaching and taking the dead and the living where they need to be.

So I’ve had poetry on my mind.

Here’s a poem, Emmaus, by the theologian Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Cantebury.

First the sun, then the shadow,
so that I screw my eyes to see
my friend’s face, and its lines seem
different, and the voice shakes in the hot air.
Out of the rising white dust, feet
tread a shape, and, out of step,
another flat sound, stamped between voice
and ears, dancing in the gaps, and dodging
where words and feet do not fall.

When our eyes meet, I see bewilderment
(like mine); we cannot learn
this rhythm we are asked to walk,
and what we hear is not each other.
Between us is filled up, the silence
is filled up, lines of our hands
and faces pushed into shape
by the solid stranger, and the static
breaks up our waves like dropped stones.

So it is necessary to carry him with us,
cupped between hands and profiles,
so that the table is filled up, and as
the food is set and the first wine splashes,
a solid thumb and finger tear the thunderous
grey bread. Now it is cold, even indoors;
and the light falls sharply on our bones;
the rain breathes out hard, dust blackens,
and our released voices shine with water.

Jason Micheli


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