Both their human condition and the risen Christ

In this morning's Fruit of the Vine, Scott Wagoner reminds us that even though the joy of Easter focuses on an empty tomb and a living Christ, there's more to the story than we sometimes take time to notice. In this week's devotional journey, Scott intends to take us along the road to Emmaus, a road where "the lives of two men were transformed," a road on which those men "encountered both their human condition and the risen Christ," a road that was a physical journey for them but that, for us, "can also be a spiritual journey."

Last week, I was in a Mexican border town, San Luis Rio Colorado. There's a Baptist church there that for more than two decades now has been walking alongside families in crisis. This little church works with the local government to identify these families and each year assigns a care team to a handful of these families, visiting them once a month or more. Every year, a group of us from Oregon travel down to Mexico to join the members of this Baptist church in the work that they're doing. One year, we helped a young man negotiate a maze of government offices so that he might get the papers he needed for legal employment. Another time, we helped a single mother sort out proof of ownership for the home where she was living with her children. We stocked a clothes closet. We provided volunteer helpers for a vacation Bible school. For many of these families, we've helped build new homes.

Each year, we go on a physical journey, driving thousands of miles to be with our friends in San Luis. Each year, we also go on a spiritual journey, a pilgrimage of sorts. And just like he did for the men on the road to Emmaus, Jesus joins us. He breaks bread with us. He prays with us and over us. When we get to Mexico, surprisingly, we often find that Jesus is already there, walking alongside families in crisis, ready to welcome us into the work that he's already doing.

Here's the thing, according to Scott: "Jesus doesn't just rise from the dead, he also walks with us along life's journey and in real time." And just as Jesus rose again, we find "new life when we recognize his presence with us." Our lives are transformed, and the lives of the people we walk alongside - they're transformed too.

Eric Muhr