What follows are elements from the Sermon I would have given on the above date, including Communion, as I revisited this sermon which was to be the last of a trio on the basis of “Words” it struck me how relevant it was to the current situation. - Keith Finch, Nelmes URC
As Jesus walked along the road, the disciples did not realise who he was until Jesus recited his own words, and their eyes were opened. There is power in God’s Word and the faithful proclamation of it, as in the Acts passage, where 3,000 came to believe, as God’s Word and his story were faithfully shared.
All these readings explore situations where people have jumped to false conclusions:
All these thoughts were overturned by the reality of the resurrection. This is the greatest story we can tell, and one which will change lives: who might we share this story with?
In our culture, there are lots of ways to interact with people without actually seeing them as discussed back in March we can email them, send a text, share messages in a WhatsApp group, ’like’ something posted on Facebook or Instagram, and so on. I did mention back at the beginning of March that words and how we use them was a topic we would be returning to moving forward
I am an advocate for some of those mediums if used wisely, I don’t intend to devalue these products, but we are made for human interaction. The disciples understand who Jesus is after hearing him share stories about himself from the Scriptures, and watching him break bread in their home. While teaching Family History at the Library I consistently remind my students that getting the dates is in some ways the easy part, the hardest part is attempting to tell that persons story, sometimes that story can only be told if a family member has memory of a particular event or maybe family folklore or written evidence from the past, old newspaper articles etc.. In some ways it reflects on our ability to transit the readings from the Old Testament to the New and onwards to today! Does this raise questions for us, not only about the depth of our own relationships, but also whether we spend (enough) time allowing Jesus to come alongside us?
Driven as the two disciples were by very different emotions, we cannot fail to notice the contrast between the speed of the journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus, and that of the journey back to tell of the meeting with the risen Jesus. It can be hard to get ourselves moving when we are weighed down with worries and disappointments. The Church has never pretended such stresses are not real, but it has always looked for ways to help people meet with Jesus personally – e.g. through prayer. If we are struggling and finding our path difficult, are there ways we can encounter Jesus and allow him to meet us in – and transform – our situation?
In the last six months of my working life in our head office in London, as usual I wore my URC cross in my lapel, a young lady joined me when I was making myself a coffee, she said you’re a Christian aren’t you, you’re the first person of the Christian faith I have come across and I have been here 18 months, I was very happy to point her to two of the very large Compliance department who were practicing Christians – so don’t be afraid to talk – I am absolutely positive that talking to people we meet can give comfort, that is I suppose nothing directly to do with faith, but is a clear example of how it is a part of how we should behave as Christians. Sometimes these conversations take us to unexpected places, some people share readily, I had an example (I am sure you will all have had similar occurrences) While working at the Windmill Garden a few weeks ago, a lady walking her dog came to the garden perimeter and complimented us on how good the garden looked, I must have been close to my finishing time as I came across the lady with her dog as I walked home, we struck up a conversation which disclosed that she had been recently widowed and how tough she was finding it, she had recently found comfort in meeting others in similar circumstances at a local bereavement group, I did nothing more than any one of us would do in a similar situation, but I thought it worth mentioning as we have read so much about Jesus on the road to Emmaus, it’s so easy to pass by and not interact, we that is 21stCentury society in major cities have plenty of reasons not to interact, but if the circumstances feel right then give it a go! (This was written in earlier in the year, but I think its fits well into the situation we find ourselves in today)
At this point in the service we would have shared communion with one another, we are not all in one place but let’s share a virtual “Peace” with one another.
Sending out prayer:
As you walked on the road to Emmaus,
Walk with us on the roads we travel.
Help us to know your presence with us,
And to be your presence to others.
And at the end of the day, may we all enjoy your feast. Amen
Elements of these words have come from Roots for the 26th April 2020