In Luke’s Gospel we hear the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  The disciples are scattered and distracted by their grief, so much so they are unable to see what is right before them–Jesus, the person they so desperately wanted to have another conversation with!  

Luke’s Gospel tells us many things about the disciples on the road to Emmaus:

  • They did not trust the information some members of their community shared with them (that Jesus was alive and that the angels had spoken to them)
  • There had been a betrayal in their religious community and it was still a raw, emotional hurt for them
  • They assumed that everyone knew what they knew and lived their reality about “what happened in Jerusalem”
  • They didn’t recognize Jesus in everyday conversation but instead when he broke the bread at a meal

I love this passage in scripture because it reminds us of the persistence of Jesus to meet and find us.  Jesus doesn’t give up on us, despite whatever barriers we throw in the path of full and complete discipleship.  Jesus is patient (retelling the entire biblical and theological story, again!), Jesus is honest (oh how foolish you are!) and Jesus loves (staying with them for a meal, even though he wanted to keep on walking).  

I believe it is the same with us. We push our discipleship to the limits.  We put up barriers, need a healthy dose of honesty and reality, and desperately need to remember that we are loved by a God who cares for us no matter what.  

Change is hard because what we sense in change is loss.  And loss is something we want to avoid at all costs. And it is really hard to change when we cannot see the future because it is murky and not 100% clear yet.

The Emmaus road with Jesus was a time of change and a time of incredible loss.  The Emmaus road was also a place where the future was murky and not able to be discerned with 100% clarity.  It was also a time when the disciples (people like you and me) were pretty avoidant and just a few (in this case, the women) could trust enough to believe in the miracle of Resurrection.

Yet, Jesus shows up in the midst of the messiness and walks beside the communities that are challenged by change.  He walks down a road with them and patiently retells the faith to them.  He has a meal and breaks bread.  

We will do these things together at Silver Bay.  We will reflect on our ever-unfolding transitional journey.  We will discuss how to be different in a murky future.  We will reflect on the promise of Resurrection.  We will break bread and share community.

In order to be best prepared for our time together at Silver Bay I invite you to do three things:

  1. Take some time to recall where we have been, we are keeping a record of the transitional journey we have been engaged in on the website.  It can be found at this link or by going to Resources>Transitional Planning  Take some time to read over the materials for our meeting which are found at this link or by going to About Us>Presbytery meetings.
  2. Take some time to consider for yourself what questions and ideas you have about reimagining the Presbytery.  There will be plenty of time at Silver Bay to ask questions, gain clarification and receive information.  
  3. Please continue to hold the working groups, teams and committees of the Presbytery in your prayers in this time of discernment and seeking together where God is calling us.

See you at Silver Bay!


About Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo

Shannan grew up between the Jersey Shore and Philadelphia and have also lived at various points in Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey and upstate New York. Internationally, I have lived in Scotland, Greece and Colombia. My family is transnational, my husband is an immigrant and we divide our time between the United States and Colombia. You can learn more about Shannan at:

The purpose of the Albany Presbytery Blog is to share information, tell stories, and promote the mission and ministry of the presbytery, synod and beyond. While the breadth of this medium is intentionally broad, it is not a platform for opinion pieces related to business coming before the presbytery unless designed as part of an initiative to provide a diversity of viewpoints at the direction of the presbytery. Exceptions to this policy may be brought to the presbytery officers who will determine appropriateness of submissions.