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“That same day two of Jesus' followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him.” Luke 24:13-16

We are encouraged to see metaphors in our world and personal experience for what is happening in our spirit. It makes our spirituality–our inner, mental life–real to us and connected to what is happening here and now. This is important because, as we delight in realizing, our spirit is that part of our being that is eternal, and not bound to the material world. This delight is the joy being described in the Psalm quoted above. It is a source of continuing delight that the teachings for the New Church constantly make this connection between the reality of this world and the reality of our spiritual world. Our spirit, our essence indeed, yearns to experience the connection, and we look for it wherever we can.

And yet likely you have noticed that too often we miss the application of some spiritual principle because our attention is outward or on our own selfhood. Too often we have an opportunity to learn a new spiritual notion, but we miss it because our mind’s eye is closed. Perhaps something like what happened to the men on the way to Emmaus.

This story is not spoken of directly in the Writings for the New Church. I found an inspired exposition in an old book on the Gospel of Luke by the Rev. J. Clowes (pronounced “clues”), who lived 1743-1831, who is one of our church “fathers.” He was a Church of England priest who converted to the New Church and wrote a number of seminal works on the Writings. About this passage he writes (first concerning verse 12, Peter looking into the tomb and seeing it empty): “Nevertheless they, who are more principled in the doctrine of faith, are led to make enquiry about it, and seeing that in the Lord all truth was made Divine Good, they are excited to adoration.

“They too [as represented by the two men on the road to Emmaus], who are in the doctrine of charity and faith united, reason together on the subject, and by their reasonings bring the Lord near to and present with them, though they do no know it.” “Gospel According to Luke,” p 424.

The application to our lives of this spiritual principle is that we are on the way through our life, with a certain direction and goal in mind. Along the way, using the information we have, we reason about our beliefs and what they say about goodness and truth, and right behavior.

First of all, we have to ask ourselves if are we conscious of our direction in life. And we have to become intentional in our goals. You are invited to read and meditate on the Word of God in order to gain a perspective on your own life. This will reveal to you where you are on your journey and where you are headed. This is perhaps the walking part of your life. This ongoing spiritual practice may be described as allowing the Word simply to be in your life without any preconditions. You have the Word in your memory first, and then it is available for you to use in your thinking, speaking and acting. The Lord’s promise is that this practice will bring His presence.

Perhaps the next piece being described in this story is the silent approach of our Helper, Comforter, and Savior. His presence is never intrusive or demanding. He quietly sneaks up on us in the daily routines of our lives. He even feigns ignorance! That is, He protects our freedom by hiding His influence. Yet, when we ask Him, He speaks up, raising all the experiences we have had in gathering and using truths from His Word, into the light of heaven. We are enlightened. In fact, “our hearts burn within us” (verse 32) because we are filled with a new sight of love for the Lord and our neighbor.

Every time we have such an insight, we have successfully connected our spiritual life with our natural life. It is a process as automatic and seemingly instinctive as our ability to use and understand metaphor. It can be said, even, that we can let go and let the Lord run His process! Our task is to keep walking, keep gathering truths from the Word and finding confirmations in our experience. As we do so, regularly meditating and reflecting on our spiritual state and goal, we can rest in the hope that the Lord will give us the wisdom and love to become ever more aware of His love in our life.