Caravaggio (d. 1610) was an Italian Baroque master painter whose works often depicted religious themes. In "Supper at Emmaus" (1606), Caravaggio depicts the moment where the resurrected Christ reveals Himself to Cleopas and another disciple through the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:13-35). This particular painting is actually Caravaggio's second attempt to capture the scene: in his earlier painting, the woman wasn't present, and the disciples' reactions were far more demonstrative.
Why did we choose this painting as the cover of our Easter bulletin? It's not what you might normally think of as an "Easter" scene: it's darker than you might expect, the resurrected Jesus isn't shining in a glorious light-bathed halo, and there are several figures in the painting who look slightly less than enthused.
But that's exactly the point. Often, the resurrected Christ meets us in the normal, day-to-day activities of our lives - like sitting down to eat a meal. It was in the breaking of bread, the symbol of the Eucharistic feast, that the disciples' eyes were opened.
And our reactions to the resurrected Christ vary from person-to-person, and from day-to-day. Sometimes we are blown away by Christ's presence and work, like the disciple in the bottom left of the picture. His hands are wide in astonishment, as if he's been blown back by the force of Jesus' glory. Other times we want to lean in and grab hold of the mystery, to be drawn in to intimacy with the mystery. That's represented in the other seated disciple, who grasps the table and keeps his eyes firmly fixed on Jesus.
Other times we are distracted. Like the man standing over Jesus' shoulder, we fix our eyes on the passing details of life, like the bread on the table, and miss the enormity of what is happening before us. Or we may be like the woman, so overwhelmed with the suffering and sorrow of life - symbolized by the lines on her face and sorrowful expression - that we fail to realize we are in the presence of the Resurrected One.
This Easter season, our prayer as a church is that we would move from standing over the table to sitting at it with the resurrected Christ. May our eyes be opened to see the miracle of new life bursting forth from death!
What else do you see in this picture? Are there other insights into resurrection life here? Write your comments below!