Brian Hiortdahl, West Hills, CA

Warm-up Question

When was the last time you cried?  What moved you to tears?Open Eyes

Open Eyes, Open Hearts

Emergency room doctor Halleh Akbarnia shares a poignant op-ed about her first COVID-19 patient, Mr. C.  They learn from one another as they share a long and frightening road toward his recovery, which is also healing for her.  For twelve days she waited to see if her efforts would be successful.  At the end of her wait, she went in to visit her patient.  Mr. C looked up at her and said, “I remember your eyes.”  Sometimes it is a small thing which establishes a deep connection.

Discussion Questions

  • What did Dr. A. and Mr. C. learn from one another?  How did each help the other?
  • In this time of social isolation, where do you see human connections growing stronger?
  • Who “fuels” you?  Who inspires you to keep going?

Third Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14a, 36-41

1 Peter 1:17-23

Luke 24:13-35

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year A at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

Like the physician who wrote the op-ed above, Doctor Luke condenses a long journey into a short story.  Two grieving disciples wander away from Jerusalem toward Emmaus, thought by some scholars to be the site of a Roman military garrison, an outpost of the worldly power that crucified their Lord.  Their sad stroll is joined by a stranger whose words slowly kindle new fire in their ashen hearts.  He opened the scriptures to them; maybe he also opened them to the scriptures.  Finally, after many miles, they break bread together.  Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.  

The moment of recognition leads to a breakthrough.  After a long stretch of uncertain days, Mr. C. remembered his doctor’s eyes.  In that tearful moment, Dr. Akbarnia rediscovered powerful meaning and professional purpose in the familiar face of the trusting, gentle teacher she thought she might lose to death.  The two disciples, upon recognizing their lost and resurrected teacher, return immediately  to Jerusalem, despite the disappearance of daylight, and find the faith community from which they had been walking away.  They share a special conversation they doubted would ever happen.  And those stories their teacher had told them—about a lost sheep and coin and son—now ring true in their own life.  He will forever have a place in their rekindled hearts.  He is the unforgettable companion who will fuel them until the day they hang up their sandals.

Discussion Questions

  • Have you ever had an “aha moment”—a sudden moment of recognition?  How did it change your life?
  • What light do these stories shine on Jesus’ words at Holy Communion:  “Do this in remembrance of me?”
  • Where have you come to see Jesus without initially recognizing him?

Activity Suggestions

  1. Take a long walk.  Think about what has happened in your life.  What surprising sights or thoughts or strangers open your eyes to something new?
  2. Write an op-ed about a person who has taught or inspired you.  Send it to them with a note of appreciation and thanks.
  3. Reach out and reconnect with someone important from whom you have gradually drifted away

Closing Prayer

Open our eyes, Lord.  We want to see Jesus.  Amen