As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. (Lk 24:28-31 NIV)
There the two disciples are returning to Emmaus in the evening. The wonderful stranger allows himself to be held. He enters their abode and has supper with them. He is the guest, but takes on the role of the housefather. We don’t know, whether they assigned him this role or whether he assumed it by himself. Yet he’s the one, who says grace. He takes the bread in his holy hands and lifts it with the hands and draws all eyes with it. The disciples follow his every move and in his action their eyes are opened. They recognize their Lord while he is breaking the bread for them. Easter now was clear to them. Their burning hearts find their goal, peace in him, powerful life from his invigorating hands. The holy word kindles hearts with the joy of Easter and together with the breaking of the bread he is recognized by those hearing his word.
Abide with us, Lord Jesus Christ, for it is toward evening and the day is far spent. Abide with us and with thy whole church. Abide with us in the end of the day, in the end of our life, in the end of the world. Abide with us with thy grace and bounty, with thy holy Word and sacrament, with thy comfort thy blessing. Abide with us when over us cometh the night of affliction and temptation, the night of fear and despair, the night of bitter death. Abide with us and with all thy faithful through time and eternity.
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away; Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word; But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord, Familiar, condescending, patient, free. Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings, But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings, Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea— Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile; And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile, Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee, On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless; Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness. Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies. Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Wednesday, the 4th Holiday of Easter. It is found on Pg. 162 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.