Preaching by the Archbishop of Uppsala, Martin Modéus

During the Eucharist on Sunday 24 April in Taizé, the Archbishop of Uppsala, Martin Modéus, gave a meditation on the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Traveling is risky. We meet new people, new impressions – and a lot of it will, in some way, become new parts of my picture of the world, of life and of my fellow human beings. And of my faith, of course.

Being on a pilgrimage is a way of facing life because every journey gives me the opportunity to grow. But above all, it helps us in getting to know God’s love. I see it in in the people I meet, in their openness, care and presence. And in all creation. Because God’s love breathes through everything.

However, it is a bit sad, that when everyday life flows on, the flows of love are easily hidden in the ordinary life, sometimes depicted as ”grey”. But really, in this ordinary life, there is a shimmer of the wonder of love already at hand.

When I get some spare time, I love to just rest and watch the birds in the garden. Many times I have been amazed by the starling. It is, at a glance, blackish grey, and a bit dull. But when I look at it in the right light, it shimmers like mother-of-pearl, like the rainbow, like the light on the surface of the sea on a beautiful summer day. And this beauty has been there all the time. How come I didn’t see it before?

Sometimes it is the exceptions to the everyday, the unexpected – train delays, things breaking, a new light – that help me step out of the obvious and see a little more. Or the pilgrimage.

The two friends walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus step out of the everyday flow. Somehow life has fallen apart for them when Jesus is crucified. During the walk, they can reflect and go a little deeper in their thoughts.

The conversation is bubbling, since the rumour that has begun to spread contradicts their experience of life. Dead people do not arise. Their worldview is challenged. Then the stranger shows up, and he helps them put the pieces of their worldview together in a new way. Jesus is opening up their eyes.

Then reality begins to shimmer. They knew what they had since before: their own experience of Jesus, their prayers, their hope, their trust or lack of trust. You know what you have, or long for.

And now, as Jesus explains: the resurrection and victory over death. God’s love sparkles and shines on the dusty, ordinary, road. They begin to see something that has always been there. But now it becomes visible.

Jesus’ words and the light of God’s love illuminate the present. It also illuminates the past, and suddenly they begin to read the old stories and the three years of the Jesus experience in a new way. They find a new way of understanding life.

And what’s more: suddenly they are also reading the future from what they have discovered. The mother-of-pearl colours of life begin to shimmer, as the fullness of life becomes visible in the greyness of everyday life.

The colours of the starling shimmer. The colours of the rainbow appear in the rain. God’s eternal life shimmers in the here and now. God calls forth the trust between God and man anew. Here and now, God loves us and creates new life.

The crucified and risen one is present in all of life’s circumstances, even those that challenge and threaten us. He who descended into death with life creates that same presence in all our circumstances, even the most painful. The love that the risen Lord shines in our lives is also present where we cannot or do not yet want to see it.

Jesus invites us to see the world, together with him, with the eyes of life and love. On our pilgrimage we are maybe not there. But he is there, looking at us with eyes shimmering of love.

Last updated: 25 April 2023