While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing Him.
The time: Early May, 1976
The place: The Shoreham Americana Hotel in Washington D.C.
The occasion: Julia Child, The French Chef, was giving cooking demonstrations to benefit the American Horticultural Society
This was a very exciting time in my life. Graduation from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro was a few days away. I had been a devotee of The French Chef for some time. Mother, Dad, and I had driven from Thomasville, North Carolina, to attend this event. We had arrived at the hotel early. Mother and I decided we would explore the hotel while Dad took a nap. Mother and I were walking down this corridor and we passed two women. A few more steps and then Mother said, “Alan, I think we just passed Julia Child.” I said, “No, we could not have! I would recognize her anywhere!” Then I turned and looked behind me. One of the women certainly had the stature of Julia and then I heard her distinctive voice! I could not believe it! I had thought I would recognize Julia Child anywhere. So filled with excitement was I about later maybe meeting her, that in that moment I had walked right past her.
For the next two days I was glued to my seat watching her mix and stir, chop and dice, knead and roll, carve and slice. I met Julia and talked with her. I had my picture taken with her, long before selfies were available. She signed two of her cookbooks. I will never forget meeting Julia and I will always remember her lilting farewell, Bon Appetit!
For a while Cleopas and his friend were kept from recognizing the Stranger as they walked on the Road to Emmaus. They shared with Him their sorrow about all the things that had happened in Jerusalem in recent days not knowing that it was Him of whom they were speaking. They were held captive as the Stranger spoke of Moses and all the prophets who had written things about the Christ in the scriptures. As they neared Emmaus, it seemed as if their new Friend would be going on His way. They invited Him to stay with them and enjoy their hospitality. He accepted.
While Cleopas, his friend and the new Friend were at table, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then, their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. Then, Jesus vanished from their sight. In retrospect, they realized how their hearts were burning within them while they were walking on the road and as He opened the scriptures to them. Cleopas and his friend returned to Jerusalem and shared with the eleven what they had experienced.
Holy Communion is a very special time in the church. It is in this sacrament that often our eyes are opened, and we see our Lord Jesus Christ in a new light and we come to a greater knowledge of just how much God loves us.
Thank You, Lord! Amen.