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Companions on the Journey

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By on June 1, 2021

One of my favourite contemporary Christian songs is “Companions on the Journey” by Carey Landry. As I listen to that song my mind goes to the story in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 24, of the Disciples walking on the road to Emmaus after Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Disciples are “Companions on the Journey” who experience Jesus in three powerful ways.

Early in the story the companions walk and share the recent happenings in Jerusalem. Jesus, whom they do not recognize, teaches them using Scripture: “Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.” (V. 27). Jesus is teaching them and engaging their minds and thoughts. When we read and pray with Scripture, and when we seek out teachers, writers and speakers who stimulate our minds, we can experience Jesus. As we pray and contemplate these things, we are led to a better understanding of who God is, how God works, and how we are changed by the Divine Presence. We are experiencing what one might call the “Jesus of the Head”.

Later, after Jesus disappears, and the Disciples said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” (V. 32). Their hearts were burning; they had experienced the “Jesus of the Heart”. They have felt the love of Jesus. When we pray, we pray in love for God, and our response is to love others. It is easy to love others we like, but much more difficult to love others we dislike or disagree with. In prayer we realize that everyone is loved by God and is deserving of our love. In loving God, and others, we are experiencing the “Jesus of the Heart”.

During the story, Jesus and the Disciples stop for the night, and the companions sit down to eat. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.” (V. 30-31). When he breaks bread with his hands, they experience the “Jesus of the Hands”. When we use our hands and the rest of our bodies to share what we have with others, we are following the way of Jesus. Prayer is not just understanding God in our minds and feeling it in our hearts, but it is also taking action in how we live our lives; how we reach out and help others; how we view the world. We are called to live a life of compassion. When we follow Jesus and do what God would have us do, we are living a life of prayer. 

As companions, we too can experience the Jesus of the Head, the Jesus of the Heart, and the Jesus of the Hands. 

It is not easy in these COVID times to travel together in prayer with companions. We are challenged to find new ways to be companions on the journey. In my case, when I, and others, realized this pandemic was not going to be over soon, we established a weekly 30-minute prayer time via Zoom. This has now become a regular part of my life. I have also joined people from across Canada in a monthly online hour of prayer organized by the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer. Participating in a twice weekly prayer time with the L’Arche Ottawa community provides me with an opportunity to be companions on the journey with those with developmental disabilities. None of these opportunities existed before the pandemic. These are examples of taking advantage of what is accessible to me. I encourage those of you who may be without the opportunity, ability, or technology, to do these sorts of things, to seek the help and company of the companions on your journey. Together you can find opportunities of travelling your road to Emmaus and experience Jesus as he travels with you from your Head to your Heart, and into your Hands.

In the words of Carey Landry’s song “No longer strangers to each other, no longer strangers in God’s house; we are fed, and we are nourished by the strength of those who care, by the strength of those who care”.

Author

  • Paul Dumbrille

    Paul Dumbrille is the diocesan Anglican Fellowship of Prayer representative.

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