Every once in a while, someone asks, “Where did Emmaus Homes get its name?”
The answer is simple—Emmaus Homes is a faith-based organization, related to the United Church of Christ, and Emmaus is in the Bible, in Luke 24:13-32. Emmaus was a village, and on the afternoon of Resurrection Day, two disciples of Jesus were walking on the road from Jerusalem back to their home in Emmaus. As they walk, a man joins them; they do not recognize the man.
The man asks them what they were talking about, and they tell him about the ministry and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, and how some women that morning claimed that Jesus’ tomb was empty and that angels said he was alive. The man then proceeds to explain the scriptures to the two disciples. When they arrive at Emmaus, it’s late in the day, so the disciples invite the man to dinner with them. The stranger takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it, gives it to them, and the disciples’ eyes are opened and they recognize that their visitor is Jesus. Jesus then disappears.
So how does this ancient story of two disciples and Jesus relate to what we do at Emmaus Homes? Well, we who work at Emmaus are privileged to journey along the road of life with our clients. We support them as they work, play, worship, sleep, and eat. Jesus Christ is present in them, in their faces and in their hearts, and our hands of support become the hands of Christ in ministry.
So as we journey together along the road of life, we encounter the risen Christ in each other. As we laugh and cry and dance and drive and yes, break bread together, our eyes are opened and we know that Jesus is with us. So the Emmaus story isn’t just an ancient story about two disciples and Jesus; Emmaus happens all the time among us, right now, right here to God!