Sunday 26th April 2020

 

Call to worship

Come, walk with him.

Come, talk with him.

Come, feast with him.

Come, worship Jesus our Risen Lord.

 

Prayer

Bless Your name, Lord Jesus.

With open hearts, minds and spirits,

we gather to praise You,

grateful that Your arms are thrown so wide in welcome.

It is in the security of that embrace

that we confess we do not deserve

such warmth or acceptance.

We have let You down in so many ways.

we have failed to reflect Your goodness

in the words we have spoken:

In the way we have treated others:

and in the selfish things we have done.

We ask for Your forgiveness –

but more than that,

We ask for the courage to choose to do better.

Help us to remember every minute of every day,

that we are Yours,

loved by You,

called by You.

Let that love and that calling

make us generous towards others,

and more loving towards You.

Be Lord of our lives,

this day and forever.

Let’s continue our prayer by praying the words of 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.

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,

Amen.

 

 

Readings 1 Peter 1: 17 – 23  

                  Luke 24: 13 – 35

 

Reflection

We continue the resurrection journey, which is a journey open to everyone to

start out on.

It is, however, a journey that is not always easy. There will be blind bends and turns and

steep hills to negotiate alongside the odd pothole or two on the road – but there will also

be wind-in-your-hair moments of joyous freewheeling and breath-taking glimpses of what is

to come. Whatever the journey holds however, we discover that we do not make it alone.

Through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, God’s followers are granted a new birth into a

new family.

In his letter, Peter is addressing people who whom he calls ‘God’s chosen people’ who were scattered throughout the northern part of Asia Minor. However, wherever they are, whoever they are, they are to celebrate the new thing God is doing and embrace their differences, because all are one in Christ.

They are to love one another with a God-like love that does not ignore the person with

mental health issues in favour of the local celebrity: that does not treat the person who puts

more in the offering plate as better than the person who can only afford £1. Their love is to

be an eager love with outstretched hands. And why? Because being loved, welcomed and

accepted by God as we are, should free us to love, welcome and accept those around us.

 

And so, let’s move to look at the passage from Luke – here we find that, according to Luke, this is Jesus’ first appearance - during this 10 – 12 kilometre walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Two disappointed and heartsick disciples are making their way home when Jesus himself comes and walks beside them, and the conversation begins.

But this was not a casual conversation between these two friends as they travelled on the road. This was intense, forensic, passionate discussion - and then Jesus interrupted it.

It is tempting to want to rush to the end of the encounter when, sat at the table, the two travellers suddenly realise who it is who had joined them and explained everything so fully to them, but it may be worth staying with the words - ‘we had hoped…’ for a little while.

Life brings its deep and real disappointments for individuals, families, communities,

congregations, Churches, and nations. On any given Sunday, when we are able to go to church, and certainly in our present circumstances, the chances are there will be many people who know those disappointments only too well and utter the words… ‘we/I had hoped….’

And rushing on to the good news of resurrection too quickly can run the danger of

being seen to make light of very real hurts and struggles. Is it possible to speak into the lives of those who are still at the ‘we had hoped…’ stage and who cannot yet dare to hope again? Many people are making a huge effort to do so at this time.

 

Prayer

Lord Jesus,

when things happen that we find hard to deal with

when our head goes down

and our eyes see no further than our own feet,

help us to be honest with You

even if it’s through tears

or rage

and ride the storm with us.

Help us to trust You are there

even when we cannot see or feel You close,

then gently tilt our faces to look into Yours,

to find there

limitless compassion,

endless understanding and patience,

and the courage we need to begin again.

We bring to You those who carry heavy burdens this day,

Those who are sick, worried or frightened

By the Covid – 19 virus pandemic,

all those who mourn…

those separated from loved ones,

those putting themselves on the frontline

for the benefit of others,

those worried by lack of business,

struggling to support their families -

Loving Lord, speak into each life, we pray,

to bring strength and courage

and to re-kindle the flame of hope….

 

Go now knowing God goes with you

Go to find God in surprising places

At surprising times

Go to journey together with all God’s people

And to discover the plans God has for you

And for this world.

The Blessing of our ever-present God

the ever-living Son

the ever-active Holy Spirit

descend upon You

and remain with You

now and always,

Amen.