I wonder what is your favourite pastime, hobby, interest or activity? Perhaps it is playing or watching sport of some kind, a team game such as football, or an individual game such as golf, which I have probably mentioned before is my favourite! Perhaps it is playing or listening to music, maybe classical or popular depending on your taste, or maybe you like a bit of both! Perhaps you like history and culture, for example, you enjoy looking at buildings and places, or art of various kinds. Perhaps you really enjoy learning through reading books, magazines or articles or through visiting museums. Or finally, perhaps you enjoy everyday activities such as gardening, cooking, DIY and walking the dog.
In life there is a great variety of things that we can enjoy as human beings, and which make life so interesting. There is much to discover and experience and something for everyone. But what things do we all have in common and do we all universally enjoy? I think there are two things which we all like to do, are essential to life and to being human: the first is walking together and the second is eating together!
In the bible there are a number of stories, in fact quite a lot of stories with the theme of people walking together somewhere (after all it was the main means of transport) and eating together, or both. One of the most famous comes after the events of Easter and is the story called ‘The Road to Emmaus’, and if you would like to read it, it is just below.
But why mention walking and eating? Well in life it is easy to make our vision and goal just our activities. However, the best things are found and come out of the simple things that we can all do with each other. Walking and eating are things that enable us to give each other time to listen, to talk, to share love and to get to know each other.
I don’t have the research to hand, although I understand much has been done, that when people walk with each other and eat together they ‘open up’ to be themselves and to talk openly. There is nothing more enjoyable than going on a walk side by side and just taking. Equally a meal, or even just a simple ‘coffee and chat’ can be the most precious and the best use of our time.
In summary, my point this month is this…..that a wise person will make their vision for life not so much about the ‘active’ things of life, but our ‘being’ with other people in our activities. It is the being with each other that matters most and means most.
In the story of the ‘Road to Emmaus’, when the risen Jesus walked along the road with some of his friends, what special things happened? They talked openly and honestly, and as they talked about things that really mattered, we read that ‘their hearts burned within them’ as they heard the words of God from Jesus. And mostly importantly through their talking and conversation with Jesus, they recognised who he was. And seeing who Jesus is, is the most important thing to realise in life.
With my prayers for May as you get out walking in our lovely countryside of Hampshire
Revd James – Rector St Peter’s Bishop’s Waltham and Blessed Mary, Upham
PS The reason I like golf is that in my view it enables all the most valuable things in life to happen at once……you get to walk, talk and eat (at the halfway house e.g., a bacon butty) with a friend, and of course enjoy a great game at the same time!
The Road to Emmaus
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.
As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. Luke 24v13-33
29th April 2023