Most of St George’s College pilgrimages finish at a small town, called Abu Ghosh, about seven miles from Jerusalem. It is one of several places considered to be what, in the Gospel of Luke, went by the name Emmaus. It is a wonderful place to finish a pilgrimage in the Holy Land.
If you are feeling, on the second day of Easter, like the full joy of the resurrection has not quite yet reached your core then you will be like the apostles themselves. They were not all immediately convinced that the time for grieving and darkness had ended. It took several appearances of the risen Jesus, over a period of time, for them all to realise the new age had begun. This year we may need to allow time for our Lord to do his work on us too.
The Emmaus story is instructive in many ways – it starts in grief, is complicated by unsubstantiated rumour and is mired in confusion. But Jesus gives them time to find their way and he ministers to them first on the journey together and then in a shared meal. One of two churches we visit for our final Eucharist is the Crusader era Church of the Resurrection (pictured) and it has a powerful effect on all those who enter. It is cavernous and its acoustic effect is too. As we gather to hear the story of eyes opened and hearts set on fire and as we share in the Eucharistic meal, Christ is made present for us too. It is a reminder that our pilgrimage continues as we travel home, wherever that may be, and our journey of faith with Jesus our Lord continues in the normality of our lives. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia, alleluia!