I recently read Luke 13:13-34, the story of ‘the road to Emmaus’. Jesus has died and risen again, but most people don’t know that he is alive. Two of his followers are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus feeling pretty down in the dumps. Jesus meets them and walks with them; for a while, they don’t know who he is. They walk the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus, settle down for dinner, and when they finally realise who Jesus is, they jump up immediately and walk all the way back to Jerusalem to tell their friends!
What struck me in this was their sense of excitement. They could have waiting until morning to go back to Jerusalem, seeing as they’d just got to Emmaus from Jerusalem! Or they could have had a nap, a cup of tea, then gone! But it seems as though the excitement and adrenalin within them was just bubbling up and they couldn’t NOT go – I imagine them skipping, running and jumping all the way back!
When you discover something exciting, you want to tell people about it. When I buy a new item of clothing that I love I want to tell everyone I see about it – especially if it was a bargain! My friend Sophie has recently discovered a really nice new cafe, and she’s telling everyone about it! Good news begs to be shared.
In February I went to visit the Methodist Church in Brazil, as part of my role as the Youth President of the Methodist Church in Great Britain. I went for three weeks and spent the middle week of the trip in the Amazon region. One day we went with a missionary called George to visit a riverside community. This involved leaving at 5am, a two hour Landrover drive, an hour walk, then an hour and a half in a small canoe. The riverside communities can only be reached by these canoes, called ‘habites’, because they are so deep within the rainforest that you have to travel on narrow river tributaries to get to them. The water is just a couple of centimetres lower than the edge of the boat so you have to sit very still so it doesn’t tip, and water needs to be bailed out regularly. Numerous times we got stuck on trees under the water and George had to jump in and pull the boat forward. Arriving at about 10am we spent two hours with a small community of six adults and four children before making the journey back. It was an incredible, once in a life time experience, but I was exhausted at the end of the day and sure that they journey had not been without risk.
George had been visiting that riverside community every weekend for a year – on top of working full time during the week. He is so excited about the good news of God that travels for four and a half hours in hot, sweaty, possibly dangerous conditions to share it with the people he has met in the rainforest. The people there were so grateful for this – one man said ‘God had saved me. I am very grateful to God and the church for all you have done for me, it has changed my life. Now I am safe.’
New clothes are good. Nice cafes are good.
How much more good is the fact that God loves us and that we can know Him?!
Meeting George has challenged me to make more effort to tell the people around me about the good news of the love of God – through word and deed.
Are you sharing the news?
Methodist Church of Great Britain