Sermon Starter: He Knows

March 21st, 2011

I was in line at the grocery store one day.  I had just run in quickly to pick up a few items that I needed at home, but you know what happens when you try to make a quick trip to the grocery store.  The grocery universe conspires against you to ensure that your shopping is neither quick nor easy.  This particular errand came at the end of a trying day.  I don’t remember what all had gone wrong that day but I guess my face betrayed my annoyance and frustration.  As I waited in the slow moving line, the elderly gentleman in front of me turned and looked at me.  “Why don’t you try smiling?” he said. “Your day will be better.”  I didn’t say anything in response but I remember thinking “If you only knew the kind of day I have had!”  My face must not have softened any because he turned back to his groceries and didn’t say anything else.  I watched him leave, glad that it was finally my turn to check out.  In retrospect, I realize that my heart was so hardened by my reaction to the events of the day that I didn’t even recognize a kind gesture when it came my way. 

Cleopas and his friend were walking along the Emmaus Road with heavy hearts and defeated spirits.  They explained their despair to the unrecognized Jesus, how their trip to Jerusalem had not gone as expected.  “Does he not know the things that have taken place?” they asked.  Of course, Jesus did know what happen.  In fact, it was the two friends who did not know what had happened! Their hearts were so hardened by their perceptions of what had happened that they didn’t recognize the Redeemer who was with them. 

Life would be easier if we would read each others’ minds.  Everyone would know when we are having a bad day and they would, hopefully, just leave us alone.  Bad days are obstacles to being in relationship.  How many kind words or thoughtful gestures do we miss because our bad days fog up our thoughts and emotions?  How often do we miss Jesus reaching out to us because our hearts have been hardened by the events of the day?

Unlike the nice man in the grocery store, Jesus does know “the things that have taken place” in our lives.  As he did with Cleopas and his friend, Jesus listens to our story, even if we don’t recognize his presence in the midst of our drama.  We can feel the softening of our hearts as we realize we are in the company of the Redeemer, and we don’t let him walk away.  Rather, we invite him to stay, as we smile and anticipate what a great day this will be!

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