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Mission Matters


José Luis Casal

A monthly update from World Mission, a ministry of the Presbyterian Mission Agency

The Mission Matters column addresses the impact of Presbyterian mission in the world and the issues that affect mission co-workers, the people we walk alongside and assist in service to God, and our partners around the globe.

April 2018 — Encountering Christ on the Road

Mienda Uriarte, Asia-Pacific Area Coordinator
Presbyterian World Mission

Just as the disciples encountered Christ on the Road to Emmaus, we also find ourselves in need of seeing clearly and with understanding. It is only when we shift our focus or change our perspective so that our eyes are opened can the person of Christ be revealed. Luke 24 is often seen as a model of the journey that Jesus makes with many of us today, as he opens our eyes and reveals himself along life’s walk as the resurrected savior and lord. For many, the passage becomes clear testimony of Christ among us on a lonely, dirt road.

Of course, who wouldn’t want someone to walk beside us as Jesus did with his disciples on that road to Emmaus? How often to do we long for someone to interpret Scripture for us and tell us how to apply it in any given moment during our everyday lives? We ponder the words and read interpretations by the experts because we long for spiritual nourishment like water for a thirsty soul.

For so many of us the highways and byways of life run in a million different directions and at such a rapid pace. As we push through life at our breakneck speed, it’s not hard to imagine that our attention might be misdirected from the meaningful moments in which God intends great things. But, discernment can be tricky. On the one hand, there are the demands that our lives seem to have embedded in them: expectations, deadlines, tasks, goals, errands and chores; and don’t forget the needed impacts and outcomes.

At the same time, another aspect of life breaks through, the church calls and we go running. We might find ourselves on the road to that monthly scheduled meeting only to be interrupted by someone desperate and in need of sanctuary from threats of imprisonment, deportation and separation from family. Or perhaps our carefully outlined retreat for strategic planning is confronted, instead, with crowds of overseas workers and other migrants imploring us for refuge and rescue as they find they have been waylaid and betrayed with nowhere to turn. And then there’s always that parishioner interrupting our quiet time because they’ve just received a life-altering diagnosis, and their own path is headed down a road they never wanted to go.

And so we’re faced with decisions and compromises and sacrifices that must be made. We all know it’s not necessarily that only one option is the clear choice; we might end up meeting all those demands as well as the needs of those entrusted to our care. After all, it is in both the explanation of historic documents as well as in the blessing of bread that Christ is revealed, and Jesus is made known. Perhaps it is in each of those moments when our eyes are first kept from recognizing (Luke 24:16) and then they’re opened, and we recognize the Christ in our midst (Luke 24:31).

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