He wove skilfully his stories,
cleverly fashioning those tricky endings,
unexpectedly sharp and sticky,
that squeezed themselves through
religion’s carefully crafted defences,
and made us all squirm.
After a time we began, in small ways,
to catch on.
Just glimpses at first,
and then, something more,
remote but shining,
the merest of possibilities.
With every tale of forgiveness,
every word of grace and love,
and every hand reached out
in friendship and welcome,
it swelled into a nearly graspable thing
that we called hope.
Hope in the divine one’s goodness.
Hope that the world might be renewed.
Hope that freedom will be born,
justice might prevail and that peace should reign.
Hope that fighting would stop,
that fear might be vanquished,
In the breaking of bread
the Lord is known.
The human-shaped God
takes the hospitality of heaven in his hands
and distributes it to his friends.
“This is for you,” he says
looking into the eyes of the hungry.
“This food is me. Take me deep inside
your eyes, your head, your heart and your belly.
Take me into your dreams and your struggles,
your fears and your waking thoughts.
Take me deep into your cryings
and your rejoicings. Take me as you journey
towards the wonder of love
and the mystery of grace.
Find me deep within your sharings,
your yearnings, your laughings,
and the fullness of your life together.
See me with you in the loneliness of dark night
and when you close your eyes
against the blinding light.
See me; even when I disappear.
This is for you,”
We often walked, Cleopas and I
and back home again.
We knew the road well,
the hills, the dusty gravel,
and the places where,
on a hot afternoon,
we would take our shaded rest.
Our conversation helped to shrink
the couple of hours, briskly walked.
On that afternoon we stumbled
through the seas of silence
to awkward islands of
repeated, unanswered questions;
our bewilderment taking shape
in clumsy words.
It could be busy enough,
that humble track,
so we were hardly surprised
when the stranger caught us up.
He gathered our questions
with each stride,
reshaping them unexpectedly
and tossing them before us
until the road ahead,
and the one upon which we had journeyed
these recent years
became clear, confident
The stranger is gone now,
yet his words remain.
The landscape upon which we journey
may be strange and unfamiliar,
but now we know where we are going.