Monday, April 13, 2009

Slouching Toward Emmaus

A recent Newsweek article states that the number of Americans identifying themselves as "Christian" has declined by ten percent in the last twenty years.

A young friend of ours was no exception to this trend, even unsure about what denomination his family had identified with at one time. "Methodist, I think we were. Or maybe it was Baptist. No--Methodist--that's what it was." He found out later that it was Baptist, for what it's worth, and he's still pretty much a stranger to the inside of a church. But an unusual happening a few years ago got him thinking, maybe there is something to this whole business after all.

His work with a construction company took him up and down Florida's east coast. One day while grabbing a quick lunch at a fast food place in Deerfield Beach, an older woman whom he described as a homeless person, came up and placed something in front of him. "This old dirtbag gives me a napkin with a bible verse written on it. 'Luke' something. I threw it out and didn't think anything more about it."

"Then get this. A few days later, I'm in Miami, thirty or so miles south of there, and the same woman comes up, and hands me another napkin with the same verse written on it! I remembered it from before: Luke 24:32."

He was going to say something, but when he looked up, she was already out the door and disappearing into the crowd. "I mean, what does this mean?" he said. "Is this old lady going into every fast food place between Deerfield Beach and Miami and handing out the same bible verse written on a napkin? That's a lot of fast food places, man."

He got a bible, and looked up the verse. "It said, 'Weren't our hearts burning within us as he walked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?'

"It's about these two guys meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus after the crucifixion and all. He lays out the whole thing for them, they invite him to lunch, and he just disappears right in front of them, like into another dimension. That's when they realized who it was. They were the first ones to see him after, you know, what happened."

"And the Old Testament tells exactly what was going to happen. It's all in there. You just need to look for it."

So, is He still causing hearts to burn on a modern-day road to Emmaus? Or is there an elderly lady who visits fast food joints along Florida's concrete canyons, handing out napkins scribbled with a scripture verse? Or both?

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