Readers’ Choice Month:
In August, The Park Forum looks back on our readers’ selections of our most meaningful and helpful devotionals from the past 12 months. Thank you for your readership. This month is all about hearing from you. Submit a Readers’ Choice post today.

Today’s post was originally published, March 10, 2021, based on readings from Luke 24.
It was selected by reader, Jon Polk from Hong Kong
“The Emmaus Road account is one of my favorite gospel stories. I wonder, “How did they not even recognize Jesus?” And then I’m reminded of all the times in my life when Jesus has been right alongside me and I didn’t recognize or acknowledge him. Keep your eyes open and you will see Jesus all through your day, often in places that you wouldn’t expect him to be.”

Scripture Focus: Luke 24.27
27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Reflection: Jesus Concealed and Revealed — Readers’ Choice
By John Tillman

Disciples don’t always seem to recognize the resurrected Jesus. Do we? 

In younger years, I thought this was part of the miracle of the resurrection, but now I think the explanations are far more likely to be practical than out of the ordinary. 

I used to think that Mary mistaking Jesus for the gardener was a miracle, but with age comes experience and wisdom. After living through intense times of mourning in my life, my own tear-blurred vision has made clear to me that probably Mary’s tears were what obscured Jesus, and not a heavenly veil.

I used to think that Jesus blinded Cleopas and his wife on the road to Emmaus, but with grief comes understanding. After walking away from many funerals and deaths of friends and walking through other deep, emotional losses, I know that physical senses are dulled by grief. After what they experienced, it would have been a miracle if their eyes had risen from trudging the road to see the face of the stranger. Even if they had looked up, the shadows of grief in their minds and the shadows of the setting sun on the path could easily have concealed him from them.

However, I do think Jesus helped them miss him—perhaps only by looking away when they looked at him or by wearing a hood or head covering that partly concealed his face. I also believe he did so for a purpose. He was preparing them for his absence and revealing to them his eternal presence. 

Jesus walked along the Emmaus road simultaneously concealing his physical presence and revealing his presence throughout the scripture. He made himself unrecognizable to them on the road so that he could make himself recognizable to them in the Torah. He hid his face from their eyes but burned his features within their hearts. The couple confessed to each other later, “Were not our hearts burning within us?” 

This same Jesus is with us. He sidles up to us and asks, “What are you discussing? What things weigh you down? What are you grieving?”

As we trudge along a path of grief may we listen to his Spirit. He will reveal to us the joy of his presence. 
His presence with us can make our hearts burn, even when they are weighed down with grief.
His love can make us run back, through the darkness of night, to tell others that light and joy have come.

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as I have power to lay it down, so I have power to take it up again; and this is the command I have received from my Father.” — John 10.17-18

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
1 Samuel 16 (Listen – 3:45)
Romans 14 (Listen – 3:28)

Read More about Readers’ Choice 2021
Have we heard from you yet? Tell us about posts from the past year (September 2020 – July 2021) that have helped you in your faith.

Read more about In the Face of Grief
The resurrected Christ seems to have a special preference for appearing to the grieving. Why then do we seem to assume that this stopped when he ascended?