Quiet Space: 21st June 2020

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Quiet Space  21st June 2020

 

A reflective reading of this verse:

“Open, Lord, my inward ear,and bid my heart rejoice;

bid my quiet spirit hearyour comfortable voice;

never in the whirlwind found,or where earthquakes rock the place,

still and silent is the sound,the whisper of your grace.”

(Charles Wesley Singing the Faith 450)

 

Bible Reading Luke 24: 28-35
Two travellers on the road to Emmaus are joined by the risen Lord but fail to recognise him. Our reading gives us the climax to the story. Read it through slowly. Do you hear anything through its words that you haven’t heard before?

 

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 24:29 But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay  with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them.:30 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. 24:32 They 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?" 24:33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 24:34 They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" 24:35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

 

“The Servant Girl at Emmaus” by Velasquez. The servant girl dominates the scene but just visible in the top left corner, in the distance, it is possible to spot Christ and a disciple sat at the supper table in conversation which she overhears.

Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), 'Kitchen Maid with the Supper at Emmaus', c.1617-1618. © National Gallery of Ireland.

The servant girl is the main focus of the painting. She is a woman of mixed race, despised by the Spanish in the 17th century. Her gender, race and religion all place her at the margins of society. But in the midst of her servant’s chores she listens with great attention to the conversation.

 

She listens, listens, holding her breath.
Surely that voice
is his—the one
who had looked at her, once,
across the crowd, as no one ever had looked?

Had seen her?
Had spoken as if to her?

Surely those hands were his,
taking the platter of bread from hers just now?
Hands he’d laid on the dying and made them well?

Surely that face—?

The man they’d crucified for sedition and blasphemy.
The man whose body disappeared from its tomb.
The man it was rumored now some women had seen this morning,
alive?

Those who had brought this stranger home to their table
don’t recognize yet with whom they sit.
But she in the kitchen,
absently touching the wine jug she has to take in,
a young black servant intently listening,

swings round and sees
a light around him
and is sure.

(Denise Levertov 1923–1997)

 

In a Time of Silent Prayer:

Listen for the whisper of God’s grace in Christ. Through the togetherness of the church whether face-to-face or via technology? - - -  Through the words “This is my body, this is my blood”? - - - Through those like the servant girl who are neglected and marginalised? - - -  Through those who can’t breathe? - - -  At the heart of your own life?

 

And conclude as we began with a reflective reading of another verse from that hymn:

“Lord my time is in your hand,my soul to you convert;

you can make me understand,though I am slow of heart;

you in whom I live and move,yours the work, your name divine;

you are wisdom, power, and love,and all you are is mine.”

(Charles Wesley Singing the Faith 450)
 

Rev Graham Evans