As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. – Luke 24:15-17
Sadness was written across their faces. They were in retreat from a great hope. They had misunderstood God’s great plan. All their fears, disappointment and sorrows were right there for anyone to see as they walked slowly home.
What’s written all over your face every day? Have you thought about that? I have to stand up in front of classrooms full of college students every day. Most days you’d think they had each just received the news that their pet had been run over by a train. Very doom and gloom, no matter how much circus I try and drag in…I need to get a better book of jokes.
I frequently remind people that our attitudes shape our actions. That’s not hard to believe. What’s more difficult to figure out is how our actions shape our attitudes. People in the fitness world know this. If you can get people to be more physically active, they tend to feel happier. There’s a famous experiment in which people holding a warm cup reported more positive feelings in their rating of an unrelated product than those who were holding a cold drink. The temperature they felt in their hands helped to shape their attitude while forming an opinion about that product.
I’m not suggesting that this couple on the way home to Emmaus should have stopped off at Starbucks first. Actually I want to remind you of some things that you already know:
- You and I walk around all day with our attitude written all over our face – what are people reading about us?
- We’re not walking away from hope like these two were. Each one of us is walking in hope – does your face show it?
- Sure, all of us have ups and downs and even long periods of time when the going gets dark, but if we determine to smile, laugh, move, and look at people, these actions will help to shape our attitude into one that’s more in line with the truth about us.
If you see me walking around with a scowl, just ask me if I’m on my way to Emmaus. That ought to remind me that my face looks like it’s heading in the wrong direction!
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13