Faith Lens
April 30, 2017–Kindness of Strangers
4/25/2017 1:12:40 PM +00:00

Dave Delaney, Salem, VA


Warm-up Question

Kindness of Strangers

A story about encountering strangers:  A new app called VizEat lets travelers book interesting food experiences in 110 different countries around the world. Two French entrepreneurs developed the program after returning from a series of international vacation trips. They realized that, because they always ate in restaurants while traveling, they weren’t sure that they had experienced the daily authentic cuisine of a country’s people.  VizEat has been called the AirBnB for food because it allows people to visit the homes of strangers who will prepare a meal for them.   Like AirBnB and Uber, the hosts set their own prices or agree on a price and a menu with the guest, and payment is electronic, so that when the guests arrive, the entire group can concentrate just on the meal.  As this story reveals, though, those who have tried this service have found themselves just as interested in the hosts and their homes and stories than in the food.

It is encouraging to realize that there is no shortage of “kindness of strangers” stories, even in unpleasant times.  A recent story concerned a man named Eugene Yoon who, in the words of the story, “felt called to do  … one really big random act of kindness. He didn’t know who he was supposed to help or how, all he knew was that he had to help someone and it had to be life-altering.”

Discussion Questions

Third Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14a, 36-41

1 Peter 1:17-23

Luke 24:13-35

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year B at Lectionary Readings

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

The gospel writers make assumptions about their readers that may not be as true now as they were when they were written.  Luke presumes that his readers are very aware of the geographical settings in which the stories are placed, which would not be as true for us today.  Events from the Old Testament that had previously occurred in the location where the New Testament event is set are often important to the background of a particular story.

In the case of the Emmaus Road story (even though the location of Emmaus in Jesus’ day is disputed), what takes only one verse to tell – “Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures” – actually reflects a walk of perhaps 6-8 hours, in which there is a lot of time to talk about things.  Moreover, the route from Jerusalem to Emmaus cuts east-to-west through a part of Judea that recalls events from nearly every stage of Israel’s long history, starting with Abraham.  As each site was passed on the road, Jesus could simply point to it and invite the disciples to recall Israel’s many attempts to  live out God’s covenant with them – some of them very faithful and others not at all.  In each case, Jesus could point to the hope that Israel had for God to be present among them, guiding and guarding, as they would strive to live out their call to be a blessing to the world.

As they came toward the end of their journey, Luke says that Jesus “appeared to be going further” – on to the world, perhaps?  But the two disciples persuade him to stay for dinner, in which he breaks bread and thus reveals himself to them.  Here we might notice the same pattern of “word and sacrament” that is part of our Sunday worship service.  In the first part of our service, we hear the scriptures opened up as someone interprets for us the things concerning Jesus.  Then in the latter part of our service, the bread is broken and we are reminded that in this meal of the gathered community is where Jesus is most truly revealed to us.  The hope is always that we too will experience our hearts burning within us as we hear God’s word and that Christ will be made known to us in the breaking of the bread.

Discussion Questions

Activity Suggestions

Closing Prayer

God of life and resurrection, we are thankful that your Son, our Savior Jesus, has been revealed to us in word and sacrament.  Give us burning hearts when he speaks to us and clear eyes when we receive his body and blood, so that we too may hurry to others and share with them the good news that he lives and meets us on whatever road we travel.  In his holy name we pray, Amen.