26 April 2020
Rev David Osborn speaks on this third Sunday of Easter, 26 April 2020.
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Today is a once in three year day
And so we are very lucky because today
we have the greatest short story ever told
really, in the history of the known universe you won’t find better the road to Emmaus;
the great tale of how our Lord appears as two followers walk in the early evening of Easter Day
we know who Jesus is, they don’t
we see the Lord, they don’t
we know a new era has dawned, they don’t
in one short story we see the theological argument for work place ministry, chaplaincy the ability to meet people on the road, in a factory, in a prison, a crew room, or in the mess deck
and to touch their lives, to make them warm within
to put a smile on their faces
the story of the Emmaus Road is about realisation
the penny drops for the disciples when they see the bread broken
their hearts are warmed, their spirits are raised, they rush to tell the others
when you touch people’s lives they must feel better for knowing you
for we represent our Lord in all that we say and in all that we do
we make a mistake if we assume that we can leave things to others
that our responsibilities as Christian people start and end at the church door
time and again clergy bang on about beliefs in action
because we know that church is a state of mind not a place
this is the message of the Emmaus road
our Lord joins us where we are, perhaps when we least expect it
the risen Christ has come amongst us and is amongst us
this is the good news, the gospel we all preach
and which Luke does so well: for he revels in story telling
His gospel is full of stories that many have come to love over the centuries
Shepherds at the manger; the good Samaritan
His sequel: the Acts of the Apostles is also rich with wonderful tales of the early church
Paul on the road to Damascus; the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
All designed to help us realise that our Lord walks alongside us now
Luke wants us to understand this basic piece of Christian faithfulness
For Luke is upbeat, positive, hopeful: but he’s not a fool;
a physician, a doctor by trade, he must have seen suffering, illness and disease
He must have seen people at the point of death, Luke knows that our lives have many challenges
His gospel, part one and two, show us a profoundly hopeful story of the life of Jesus of Nazareth
and the enormous achievement that becomes the early church of Christ
For if Luke has been present at the end of life he has also been present at the start of life
Which is why the story of the Emmaus Road means so much to him and why he spends so
much time recounting it
He wants us to know that we are never alone, no matter how lonely we feel
Our Lord accompanies us wherever we may be and for that we should offer our thanks and praise
We should rejoice as our Risen Lord joins us each and every day
of our pilgrimage through this early part of the third millennium
this journey that we all call life
and we now know, thanks to Luke, that we do not journey alone
So yes, we should celebrate, rejoice and give thanks for our Lord walks with us for evermore.
Luke 24 verses 13 to 35
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
Prayer for today
We praise you and we bless you, our risen Lord Jesus, King of glory,
for you are with us,
even when our eyes are closed to your companionship.
Walk this day alongside the disconsolate and the despairing,
open their eyes to your gentle illumination,
and let their hearts burn within them at your invisible presence.
To you, Lord Jesus,
walking by our side,
be honour and glory, now and for ever.
Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour Christ has taught us
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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the
kingdom, the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.