Online Sunday Service – Sunday 26th April 2020 -The Emmaus Rd

26.4.20

The Emmaus Road

Joshua 1:9

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Good morning folks,

I hope and pray that all is well with you and your loved ones this week. It’s a worrying time for us all isn’t it? Some people are either paranoid with what they touch and giving an extra wide berth when out in public, whereas others are too complacent and quite happy to mingle in the park or stand too close to strangers. I suppose a ‘common sense’ approach is the best way handle these unprecedented times.

It seems to be bring out the best and the worst in our society. So many good stories coming out, of nice people doing nice things for others. And of course that lovely old gentleman Captain Tom Moore who is an inspiration to us all.

But sadly there are those who will take every opportunity to deceive vulnerable people into parting with their money.

It’s like nothing we have experienced before – and it’s easy for us to wonder what on earth is going on – and that is just what the 2 Disciples in our text for today were wondering too!

They were experiencing something they had ever experienced before too – their best friend had been nailed to a Cross and died in agony – the whole world seemed to have been turned upside down and they were trying to make sense of those distressing, dangerous and extraordinary times.

But before all that – let us pray ~

Dear Lord and Heavenly Father, we come to praise and to worship you…. we come as a family, to be in your presence and to listen for your word to us……. We come from our different homes and lives, but with one purpose – to unite as one body, the body of Christ and show witness to our faith in you, through your son, Jesus Christ..

Lord, we lift up our hearts in joy that you are our Lord, our King, that Jesus is our Saviour and that you are our glorious hope – for this life and the life hereafter.

Father, you make the light shine out of darkness, you make the sun rise, you give us Christ, the world’s true light:

You live in light beyond all thought, yet through Christ our Lord we know you are present here, today, in our lives, in love and power:

And we praise you.

But who are we that you should remember us? Who are we that you should care for us? Yet, for all our faults, for all our failings – you love us still. What a wonderful and awesome God you are !

We remember how we have not loved or cared, as we ought,

how we have been too much wrapped up in ourselves,

to see Christ before us –

We have been too hard on others, too quick to blame;

We have grumbled, when we should have been thankful,

Have criticised, when we should have tried to help;

How we forget the rest of the world, and are happy, so long as

our own lives are relatively problem free.

Lord Jesus, we admit such things to you now, in your presence and in our silence – and we bring not only our confessions but all that troubles us – all that clogs up our minds and stops us from truly seeing you in all your glory – so be with us now as we sit – in the peace of our silence………

……..a short time of silence…………

Lord, forgive us – heal us, cleanse, refresh, renew us – strengthen our faith in times of doubt – grant us your mercy and your grace – for we ask it in Jesus’ name.

Help us to see that we need your guidance – and as we travel along life’s road – may Christ walk beside us.. leading us onward – teaching, challenging and enlightening us as to your will………..

Hear us we pray for your mercy – hear us too as we pray together – the family Prayer – the Lord’s prayer –

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread – and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.. Lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil .. For thine is the kingdom.. The power and the glory, forever…. Amen.

 In our reading from the New Testament this morning, we hear of the two disciples who were heading home after all that had happened at Easter – leaving Jerusalem and walking along the road to Emmaus – downhearted and despondent – they were talking about all that had happened – when they were joined by a stranger – a stranger who turned out to be someone they knew very well ~

Let’s read that together ~

Luke 24 : 13 – 35 : The Walk to Emmaus

13 That day, two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking alongside them.16 But God kept them from recognizing him.

17 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?”

They stopped short, sadness written across their faces.18 Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”

19 “What things?” Jesus asked.

“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. 20 But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to save us.

22 “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. 23 They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! 24 Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.”

25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures! 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”

27 Then Jesus talked them through the writings from Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, 29 but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. 30 As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!

32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” 33 

And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them,34 who said, “The Lord has really risen! He who appeared to Peter.”

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

35 Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized Him as He was breaking the bread.”

This is the Word of the Lord – Thanks be to God.

Amen.

*

As Robbie Burns once said – “the best laid plans of mice and men – gang oft agley!”

And how true that is…

How often have we made plans – got up our hopes – only for them to be dashed as things don’t go as we’d planned ? Perhaps more so in this time of ‘lockdown’. Weddings, Baptisms, birthday parties, all sorts of ‘happy’ times, shelved, postponed and even cancelled.

It’s disappointing to say the least – sometimes it can be devastating – and we feel downcast, disappointed and discouraged. It’s a horrible feeling isn’t it?…

that must have been how those two disciples would have felt as they made their weary way home to Emmaus – as we heard in our N.T. Reading.

.Plans had been made – hopes had been raised – and here was Jesus, that long awaited Saviour – “He was going to ruffle some feathers – shake up the holy men and the establishment – and things were going to change around here!!…”

*

Jesus – the one they had given everything up for – the one they had pinned all their hopes on – but now he was dead – arrested and killed – just like many prophets who had gone before.

Perhaps it had all been some kind of crazy dream – perhaps it was just some kind of band-wagon that they had jumped on – how could they be sure ? –

How could they be sure of anything, anymore ??

But one thing was for sure – it was all over – Jesus was dead – dead and buried – just like their hopes – or so they thought.

But even death could not halt God’s master plan – not even death could not hold Jesus in the grave – as they were about to find out !

So, there they were – 2 sad and dejected disciples – a follower called Cleopas and his wife we, think…. making their way home to Emmaus – a village about 7 miles west of Jerusalem.

They were – quite literally – walking into the sunset – like at the end of some epic movie – but this wasn’t the end – far from being over – the next phase of God’s plan was about to begin!!……..

As they travel that dark and lonely road – a stranger appears alongside them.

What are you two talking about?” He asks them – (as if he didn’t know!) J …

All that has just happened in Jerusalem !” They replied.

what’s all that then ?” Jesus said – perhaps with a mischievous smile – and they must have looked at him as if he had just landed from another planet – ‘where had he been for the last few days ?how could he not know all that has gone on?’

And so they explained all that had happened to this man they called Jesus – little knowing that it was to Jesus that they were actually talking !

And then we heard those words – perhaps the saddest words in scripture – in verse 21 – “we had hoped that He was the one who was going to save us!”

And we can almost hear the disillusionment, the disappointment in their voices.

They had, for a while, dared to hope that it might all be true – but their hopes were cruelly shattered……or so they thought.

I can imagine – perhaps you can too – Jesus looking at them with a warm, enigmatic smile – perhaps shaking his head a little – and saying – “O dear, how slow you are to understand and believe !” – “do you not remember what the prophets have said ? – do you not know that it is written that the Christ had to suffer these things !?” (verses 25-26).

And then from as far back as Moses – Luke tells us – as they walked along – Jesus talked them through everything that the scriptures had said, concerning the coming of the Messiah – the Saviour – the Christ, the Christos, the Anointed one – himself.

But even then – after all the explanations and enlightenment – they still didn’t realise who this ‘stranger’ really was !

Of course, He was no stranger ! – this was the one who had been promised since ancient times – and they had been excited by His coming – “this was the one who would change their lives – change the world” – this was their own dear friend – Jesus – who would turn their faces from the sun-set – to the sun-rise – to the dawn of a new day – just as their ancestors had done on their wanderings – when they had “journeyed towards the sunrise” – and we can read about that in the book of Numbers at Chapter 21.

And so – a bright new day was dawning – a day full of hope and expectation – a day in which Gods’ promises were to be fulfilled – and all through the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ – Jesus the long awaited Saviour…..

But we hear that it wasn’t until they shared a meal – and when Jesus ‘broke the bread’ – that the penny dropped as to who this charismatic fellow traveller really was !

Perhaps it was then that they saw the marks on his hands – maybe it was then – like Thomas – who we heard about last week – they saw for themselves – and believed…

It’s a powerful and potent text – and it has much to say to us – here – today.

It shows us that Jesus doesn’t force his way into our lives – He gently walks beside us – sincerely wanting us to see Him and invite him in…

It tells us too that so often, we are so preoccupied with our own agendas – too tied up with our own issues and problems – to see that Jesus is right there with us.

Hebrews 13 v 5 tells us – “Never will I leave you ; never will I forsake you…”

 We fuss and worry about what we are going to do next – how are we going to cope ? – but fail the see that the answer – the help – the hope – is, quite literally – staring us in the face.

Aye – but do we recognise Him ?

The theme of recognition – or the lack of it – is repeated through many of the resurrection narratives.

To many of those who knew him best, the risen Lord appeared as a stranger.

Close friend, Mary Magdalene didn’t recognise Jesus when He appeared to her in the garden; she thought He was the gardener.

What how about you? Would you recognise the face of the risen Lord if he drew alongside you this morning? What if He came and sat next to you in your home? Maybe He has – maybe He is !

What if He was sitting in a shop doorway as you walked past?

What if He knocked on your door this evening asking for some change for a cup of tea? Would you recognise Him – or would you turn him away?

He makes himself known to us at various points in our lives – and we either recognize Him and embrace him, and our lives will never be the same – or do we fail to recognize him and our lives goes on unchanged; a life changing opportunity missed.

It’s easy for us to become “travellers on the Emmaus road” – despondent – struggling to understand – confused and discouraged – yet Jesus knows when we need his help.

It’s when we are downcast and dejected – that he draws closer to us.

It is on our weakness – that he gives us His strength.

And this text – this story – tells us one more thing – it tells us of God’s great and glorious power –

For it tells us that Jesus really did rise again ! – that it’s only the plans of ‘mice and men’ that gang oft agley – the plans of God roll on through time – like an ever rolling stream – unhindered by mankind’s feeble efforts to control our own destiny.

And so we see that this passage – this well know narrative – is a powerful passage from our powerful God – which has so much to tell us – and then, much, much more beside.

But if we have the eyes to see it – it challenges us too.

It challenges us to look for Jesus as we travel this journey of life – of faith.

It challenges us to recognise His presence in all that is good in the world.

And it challenges us to share that belief – that certainty – of God’s ever present-ness (if that’s a word) – with others.

These are some of the challenges that this text – that ‘walking with Jesus’ bring for us – as His followers in today’s world.

 

You’ve heard of ‘kilt walkers’ – well we are ‘Jesus walkers’………. Walking with him on our journey from here – as the old film title said – to eternity….

Are you up for the challenge ?? – are we up for the challenge ??

Those early disciples were ~ as have millions of followers of Christ ever since ~

 How about you ??

I pray that you are – and I pray for you in the precious name of Jesus.

Amen.

And may God bless this preaching of his holy word – and may all the glory and the praise be His.

*

As we bring our concerns and fears for the world to God in our prayers of intercession – we think of all the awful events we hear of on the radio or television or read in the newspapers – and we think of those people affected by such tragedies.

And we think too of the situations and people that we know in our own lives – who need a prayer at this time .

At the end of each wee paragraph, you might wish to say with me

Loving Lord ~ Walk with them – we pray

So let us pray together ~

Heavenly Father,

You bless us with so much, and we offer our gratitude, appreciation and recognition of all that you do for us and our loved ones.

Lord, we give you our thanks for our families and friends – for those who love us and care for us, for those who make life good.

Loving Lord ~ Walk with them – we pray

But Father, we know that there are many in this world, aye, too many, for whom life is not good – and it is these, our brothers and sisters who share this earth with us, that we bring to you in our prayers today.

Loving Lord ~ Walk with them – we pray

We pray for those who struggle to exist, while we have plenty.

 Loving Lord ~ Walk with them – we pray

We pray for those who have the most basic medical help, while we are blessed with the latest ‘high-tech’ advances that modern technology can offer.

Loving Lord ~ Walk with them – we pray

We pray for those who are hungry and homeless while we have nice homes and our stomachs are full.

Loving Lord ~ Walk with them – we pray

We pray for those who mourn the loss of a loved one, whose lives seem to be empty of all hope and feel that life no longer has meaning.

Loving Lord ~ Walk with them – we pray

 We pray for those whose lives are being turned upside down by the thoughtless actions of others – those caught up in violence or war.

Loving Lord ~ Walk with them – we pray

We pray for those places in the world where greed and the need for personal gain is causing conflict – and we pray for those ordinary, everyday people who become embroiled in such conflict, whether domestic or on a more national scale. Lord, bless them, each one.

Loving Lord ~ Walk with them – we pray

And today we particularly pray for the families of all those who have lost loved ones, whether through the CV19 virus or some other cause.

May they know the peace and consolation which comes from placing their trust in you, knowing that their dear one is now at peace, safe in your loving arms.

Loving Lord ~ Walk with them – we pray

 

At this time we particularly pray for those ‘front line workers’ who put their own lives in danger in order to keep the rest of us safe. Watch over them, keep them safe in the face of such danger.

Loving Lord ~ Walk with them – we pray

Be with us listening Lord – as we sit together – in silence – for a few moments – each with our own thoughts – each with our own prayers – for those we know and love – and those we know who need a prayer at this time…….

Hear now, our silent prayers ~

……short time of silence as we silently name them ……

Loving Lord ~ Walk with them – we pray

for we ask it in the name of the one who walks beside us on our journey – our dear Saviour – the Risen Christ Jesus .       Amen.

Thought for the Week

We’ve been speaking about recognizing Jesus in our lives ~ here’s a wee story ~ It’s about a little boy who sat down at the kitchen table with his crayons and a big sheet of blank paper, and he started to draw.

His father, noticing the youngster hard at work at the table, stopped to look. “What are you doing, son?”

“I’m drawing a picture of God,” said the little boy.

“But son,” said the father, “You can’t draw a picture of God. Nobody knows what God looks like!”

The little boy thought for a moment and said, “Well—they will once I get this picture finished !! ”

*

Most people would agree with the father in the story. No one knows what God looks like.

But maybe that’s one of the reasons God created us in his own image, and called us to serve Him and show the world what God is like.

The Apostle Paul wrote : “As we are being draw closer to God, we are being ‘conformed into the image of his Son, Jesus Christ”

“See me” Jesus said “ and you see God” –

As we become more Godly – as we become more Christ-like – people can see in us a reflection of our Heavenly Father.

 

And so – as Christians, followers of Jesus – as we walk through this life – we must ‘conform to the image if Jesus’ and walk alongside others in love, tolerance and understanding –

That’s what God is like – that is how we should be.

So that they will see Jesus – in you!

Now that IS food for thought!

Don’t you think???

Blessing

 Go in love, joy, peace and hope ~

Go and walk with God – walk with others, showing them the love of Jesus……..

And may the blessing of Almighty God – Father- Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – may he be with your families and friends and all who you know and love – and ought to love – this day and everyday.

Amen.

May God Bless you and your loved ones, take care and keep safe.