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Das ergreifende Wiedersehen (A Deeply Moving Encounter)
|Date||May 07, 1916|
A Deeply Moving Encounter
[Arnold, Eberhard and Emmy papers – P.M.S.]
[Draft Translation by Bruderhof Historical Archive]
"The Herald of Peace"; Sunday, May 7, 1916
A Deeply Moving Encounter
But whatever gain I had, I counted it as loss for the sake of Christ...in order that I may gain Christ...that I may know him and the power of his resurrection. (Phil. 3:7, 8, 10, RSV)
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.
In this war it has happened again and again that individual prisoners have managed to escape and reach home in the most wonderful ways. What a moving reunion it is when a son – long missing and presumed dead, whose obituary has been lovingly kept in the cupboard – suddenly comes in at the door! Terrible experiences have altered him; there is a different expression in his face. His sinewy frame seems to tower above them. He seems to look at his family from some far distant place, as if he had been in a different world. He himself realizes the effect his sudden and unexpected appearance must have. He begins as if he is simply bringing a greeting from the missing son--but in the middle of his account his mother recognizes him by the way he speaks, by the way he uses his hands, by his diffident and yet confident manner. What a recognition! What a meeting!
How devastated Jesus' friends had been by his death! How hard it was to make themselves believe that he was dead, that the powers of death held captive the One who had been ruler over everything! They could not overcome their inner struggle and accept it that Jesus was cut off from them by death. Many people tell how in this war, even after they have received news of someone's death, they still believe there has been a mistake and expect from day to day that their dear one will come home – changed, wounded, no longer recognizable, but nonetheless living and the same!
The sun was already setting on the third day after Jesus had died, when two of his friends set out on a lonely journey. It took two-and-a-half hours on foot and as they passed by the peaceful fields near Bethany and Jericho they were glad to be able to talk over the whole experience. Pain and hope, disappointment and expectation, all came to expression. Hadn't Peter and John and the most reliable women in their fellowship brought news from the tomb--news they could not believe and yet could not doubt? They would have been glad to go on their way alone and uninterrupted in the quiet twilight, telling each other once again the thoughts roused by the news of the empty grave. But their steps had grown so slow, and they so often stopped a moment, absorbed in their conversation, that it was no wonder another traveler gradually overtook them. As he was walking the same road he could not help overhearing their discussion. It was obvious that they were deeply moved, and so it was no surprise when they were asked, "What are you discussing as you walk? And why are you so sad?" Their new companion's sympathetic interest and serious manner opened up their hearts so they told him all that was troubling them. And he explained the Holy Scriptures to them and spoke of all Moses and the prophets had testified about the Messiah, his suffering and his glory. Then their hearts burned within them with a fire they had felt only when listening to the words of the One whose death had caused their grief.
The sun had almost set as they at last drew near the village where they were to spend the night. Profoundly impressed by the clear biblical insight of their companion, they begged him to stay with them, and he did so. They had had a great experience on their way, for they had heard about the glory of Christ in his suffering. Now they were to experience the greatest event of all. They were to recognize the living Savior and were to know him because he shared in their lives with the same love and intimacy that had always moved them to the depths. They were at table when he took the bread, gave thanks, and divided it among them. Then they could not help but recognize him when he accepted the food and drink from his Father's hands, when he gave them the bread as a sign of his participation in life on earth. The resurrection had not changed him; he had remained the same, with the same love, the same friendship, the same participation in the earthly life of his disciples.
We can all recognize the Risen One. We can all experience him as he penetrates every aspect of our earthly life and surrenders everything to the Father and his love. We are to eat and drink with him in his Kingdom, but here and now, he wants his powerful life to direct us in everything, so that whatever we do – eat or drink, act or submit, live or die – we do it in his name, spirit, and cause. Experience of his living presence is the only genuine Christianity.