In stories of the roads, travelled with companions, and at the tables where we rest after our journey, we recognize God. We know God in the breaking of the bread, the gift of words broken open, stories from the difficult and dangerous roads shared in hope. On the road we share stories of life, of failure and going bust, of being picked up and stepping forward into the unknown, of wisdom and beauty gleaned as we went. At supper we dare to dwell with one another more deeply, we begin to let one another into our hearts. And our hearts are strangely warmed, set on fire as we listen, as we share a table and food with our companions, and know and trust God present and at work in and among us.

And because the road I dangerous and difficult, we need each other there. The news media this week confirms it to be dangerous with too many-one is too many- stories of people, young people, children, shot, wounded, killed by fearful people with guns too handy, touching a car, knocking on a door, rolling a ball onto a lawn, pulling into a driveway while being lost on the road. What panicked fear and primitive drives, what satanic impatience moves such violence. I wonder if the fear of road rage, and people saving seconds accounted as more important than a human, or an animal’s life, even right here on cozy Vashon Island, isn’t related. The road is a dangerous place and a fearful one.

But in Jesus Christ God digs a deep well of trust where we had only a deep well of fear. With him as companion. We can walk the dangerous and difficult roads with hearts that more and more fundamentally trust.  We may feel far from healing, far from peace, far from God, but can entrust our story to God. Call it, like Peter does, an exile. Over and over God’s people walk near God, and then are flung into the bewilderment and grief of life in foreign lands. But they do not forget God. And God transforms their hearts in the process. We may feel far from God, we may grieve and lament and ask why, but deep in our hearts, we do believe, we do trust in the power of God’s love for us and the whole creation.

On our difficult roads Christ, our true and inward teacher joins us, and gives us the light Holy Spirit shining in our hearts. God says, “this is the way, walk in it.” Or Jesus might just show up in everyday guise, a stranger, to help us find the way when eyes keep our hearts from seeing it. Jesus, the risen one, may just join up with us as a stranger looking for travelling companions. After all the road is dangerous-whether your hitchhiking, hopping trains, trying to walk to school and back home safely, or just walking along Vashon Highway, it’s good to have travelling companions. Jesus joins us on the road, a stranger looking for the company and safety of others to trust. Trusting us, Jesus asks a simple, seemingly naïve question, and then just listens. Trusting this stranger, the disciples entrust their story to him. And he helps them know and even more to trust God at work in what they tell.

To know and trust God, we need each other. And the world needs people whom God is teaching to trust and to love deeply from the heart. To love deeply from the heart, we need to listen and make room for each other in everyday places. Places where we can know God in the breaking of bread. The Church of the Holy Spirit has been practicing this in various ways, including meeting for several months now for small Sunday suppers. What started as an act of hospitality for me as an itinerant interim priest, quickly became an ongoing effort of hospitality and warm, intimate friendship to one another amongst this whole church. Thank you for hosting and taking part in the companionship. They are one a several gifts from God to this congregation that you might notice and dwell with more deeply. I believe these suppers get us closer to the heart of Jesus. I believe the risen one has been letting our hearts burn with kindness and good humor, with loving and listening friendship, and all-over good food. It may be what we need.