When we share a story with someone who knows nothing about us, we often start with the most pertinent facts or background information. As the two disciples stop to respond to Jesus’ question about their conversation, their tone shifts. In this newcomer’s presence, their new conversation sounds different from the one they were just having. They offer their version of the events of Jesus’ death, explaining what matters most to them as they convey the story to someone they think knows nothing about it. We hear them talk about the plans they had, about crushed hopes, and about the mysteries that still linger.
Readers often criticize these two disciples the way they critique “Doubting Thomas,” for lacking faith and failing to see Jesus. But their words also sound a lot like a testimony to me. They describe what they have experienced, not only over the past few days, but perhaps over the last few years. They testify about who Jesus was to them. They express their grief. They confess their confusion about the unanswered questions that remain. I hear them say, “This is what we believed, and then this happened. Now we’re not sure where to go from here.” Their story sounds similar to many of the testimonies from saints both past and present.
Our faith stories are not static. They change with our experiences, as we grow and learn. The testimony we hear from these two disciples in this moment may not be the same one they share years later. But in this testimony, we hear them willingly engage a stranger with honesty about their experiences and their doubts. Perhaps that’s also where we begin when we want to engage others in the story of God’s work in our lives.
When you share about God’s presence in your life, what parts of your story matter most to you? How do you share this honestly and authentically?
Gracious God, through my joys, grief, and doubts, you have been faithful to me. Guide me to share your work in my life with others. Amen.