COCU33A.Easter 3A

Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Peter continues his sermon on the Day of Pentecost and encourages his hearers to believe in Jesus as Messiah, to repent and to receive God’s Spirit, and 3000 people respond.
Psalm 116:1-4,12-19
A psalm of praise, thanksgiving and commitment in response to God’s gracious rescue.
1 Peter 1:17-23
Because God, through raising Christ from death, has led God’s people to eternal life, we should love one another.
Luke 24:13-35
Jesus appears to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, who invite him to stay the night with them. They share a meal and, as Jesus breaks the bread, they recognise him.
(Summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Insight comes to each of us in its own time, when and as we are ready to absorb it.  With each fresh “Aha!” we realize that this path of discovery we are on is very old, with well-worn footsteps that now bear our imprint as well.  Just like mountain climbing, it’s good to go with company but you still have to make the ascent on your own, one dogged step after another.  “It’s your road and yours alone.  Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.”  (Rumi)
(Source: Progressive Christianity)

New Music by David MacGregor: On the Road (hearts are burning). Links to MP3 backing track, score and words

New resource: Walking to Emmaus again, by Rev Sarah Agnew and published by Wild Good publications, based on a creative engagement with the Emmaus story in a service at Pilgrim Uniting Church in 2014.

When we are travelling, God is with us.
When we are alone, God comes to us.
When we feel weak and unsure,
God offers us food for the journey.

Opening of Worship (inspired by the events in Luke 24:13-35)
Easter is not an event that has occurred
it’s an adventure that has begun
not a place that we have visited
but a path on which we stand
a story not complete, but unfolding
characters still breathing
stations still teeming
with the promise of new life
not just for you and me
but for all people, in all places
a cosmic crux
a turning point of time
Easter is the season
of wild hope
of dangerous intent
of potent promise
where the future flaps unfurled
in the spirit’s breeze
where hopes bubble
with uncorked effervescence
where toes tap
to free-form rhythms
where rainbow hues
splash empty canvas
Here and now, we continue the journey
we re-enter the story
to explore our questions
to uncover our doubts
to face our nagging need
We walk the path
of two who traveled a dusty roadwrapped in confusion and despair
two who shared the company of a stranger
voicing their pain
airing their fears
and in the listening
heard words of hope and promise
and in the eating
received true bread of life
Here and now, we re-enter the story
with expectation that Christ
will also reveal himself to us
in sights and sounds
in words and symbols
in bread and wine
Let us pray:
Risen Christ
walk with us this day
be our companion and guide
be our teacher and friend
be our host and servant
bringing your gifts of faith, peace and hope
and deep joy
as always. Amen.
(Source: Emmaus Worship Service, with words by Craig Mitchell (2005) & Iona Community)

Luke 24:13-25
Too often, like those on the way to Emmaus,
we recognise the presence of the risen one in hindsight.
that mysterious transitory presence
dancing at the edge of awareness
never constant, steady, or predictable.
Perceived in fleeting moments
amid the seemingly mundane
we learn to treasure such experience in retrospect.
Did not our hearts burn within us?
Look, he passes by me, and I do not see him.
But being on the way
we may meet the risen one in the past
as well as in present
in remembering
in suddenly being taken to another place
another time
that opens new paths of remembering:
Do this in remembering me.
(Source:Jeff Shrowder, 2014)

Christ who walks alongside us,
Often without us realising,
May we be more aware of your presence.
As Easter people we know the facts,
But don’t always comprehend their meaning.
How foolish we are,
And how slow of heart to believe your truth and your way as you would have it.
Meet us where we are at.
Teach us again and open our minds,
Awaken in us a new epiphany,
An experience of knowing you in a new way.
Open the Scriptures to us,
That we might hear you as The Word of God,
Leave us surprised and changed,
Reinvigorated in our faith and following.
Set our hearts on fire with a slow burning passion to live your love,
Being and making disciples,
Witnessing to your reality,
And sharing learning about you and what you call us to,
What you call us to be
And what you call us to do.
Word of God,
Who walks alongside us and who journeys with us,
Meet us where we are at,
Teach us again and open our minds,
Reinvigorate in our faith and following,
Leave us surprised and changed.
May it always be so.
Jon Humphries, Prayers that unite)

ROAD, TABLE, ROAD (Luke 24: 13-35)
The weary miles coat our feet
in the dust of the Emmaus road.
Afternoon sky shimmers with heat,
and the light, like a crust of fire cast off by the sun,
scrapes at eyes already raw from weeping.
We have left Jerusalem, but not our grief –
he died, the one we called our Lord –
and we, bereft of purpose, joy and hope,
now try to find our way without his leading.
Like a cleft tree or uprooted vine, our hurting minds,
stung by the strength of death,
cannot conceive of anything greater still;
thus we’re blind to hope too wild for cracked hearts to receive –
angels saying Christ’s risen from the tomb –
the news the women would have us believe.
So we dully plod the dusty road,
gloom our only companion
until someone joins our journey:
just a man, we assume, like us;
and while we talk of all just done in Jerusalem,
he listens, mildness in his voice as he probes our words,
tale spun from our bewildered thoughts.
Though the blindness of our sad minds to who he is remains,
yet our hearts begin to feel a lightness
as this one stranger, his words kindling flame,
shows from Scripture what Christ had come to do.
Uplifted, rapt (though still he gives no name),
surprised to find that hope has surged anew,
we beg his presence at our evening meal.
But when he takes the bread, gives thanks,
the view we have of him is changed,
for now his real identity is revealed:
Christ, who gave himself for the life of the world,
who sealed the new covenant in which we are saved
by his body given, his blood shed –
and who, raised by God, triumphed over the grave.
Questions will wait; we don’t, can’t understand it all,
but hardly care.
Weary no more, we want to tell the others what we can;
hurrying we head through the open door
to the road again, to Jerusalem.
Sensing how much more there now is in store
for the hungry of the world,
we’ll tell them that Jesus who died and rose is our bread –
that he is life, greater than death. Praise him!
(Source: Andy King 2014)

When the morning reached out its dawning hand to us
when we had thought there could be nothing but night,
when a fellow traveler walked with us in our sorrow,
a stranger even, who was willing to listen,
when someone helped us find wisdom in our losses,
when something in us, unnoticed until it spoke,
called out to another to come in, to share a life,
when we ate together, embraced one another’s
hunger and gratitude, bore one another’s craved blessing,
when we stood in the definite, unnameable presence like rain
that followed us as intimately as our breath,
when a Word spoke to us from inside things,
things as plain as bread, broken open for us as a gift,
when the world was not alone of us, but one, and gathered,
when we walked along, and the road received us,
and the real and ordinary was enough for us, blessed and given,
didn’t our hearts burn within us?
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

You Break In

You break in, O God,
on the road
you break in, O God,
exactly the way we don’t believe
you break in, O God,
and change everything
You break in, O God
with a call
you break in, O God
with an invitation
you break in, O God
with the truth
You break in, O God
with a new realm
You break in, O God
with a new world
You break in, O God
with your intent for the future
God, break in again
and call us to be your workers
God, break in again
and use the gifts we are to build your realm
God, break in again
and change our world once more.
(Source: Roddy Hamilton, Mucky Paws)

Prayer of dedication/offering (see also other prayers here)
Like the disciples at Emmaus,
we offer what we have.
They offered their company,
their table, their bread.
We invite you to be with us, Jesus,
as we offer you our love,
our devotion, these gifts.
May our eyes be opened
to your holy presence among us,
now and always.  Amen.
(Source:  Carol Penner, Leading in Worship)

Prayers for others (see also prayers listed here)

Prayers for others: Faith in action
The world is not healed, O God,
by correct ideas,
or intellectual nods in the direction of doctrine.
No, the world is healed when faith becomes a fire
that captures our hearts,
that consumes our lives,
and that moves us into actions of love and justice.
And so we pray for all people of faith in this community,
friends and family members,
strangers and newcomers,
that our faith may be expressed through actions
of love and welcome
of inclusion and celebration.
We pray for all people of faith in our nation,
leaders and followers,
those with much, and those with little,
that our faith may be expressed through actionsof generosity and unity,
of listening and respecting.
We pray for all people of faith in our world,
those who believe as we do,
and those who believe differently,
that our faith may be expressed through actions
of peacemaking and freedom-bringing,
of creation-caring and hope-giving.
Our world is not healed, O God,
when faith is just words, ideas or rituals.
But, when faith is put into Christlike action,
healing is not just a possibility – it is a certainty.
It’s just a question of time. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Easter 3A – the road to Emmaus. Some worship ideas gathered from various sources. EASTER 3A Elements of worship

Reflection by Thom Shuman – Easter eyes Easter 3A – Thom Shuman

Preaching Peace – insight into the Luke reading

Psalm 116 commentary here by Geoff McElroy – great insights!

And Howard Wallace here.

In the Walking, Talking and Breaking of Bread: The Road to Emmaus and Immigration by Frank Lesko on Progressive Christianity

Emmaus Prayer
Risen One
like those disciples on the road to Emmaus,
we struggle to recognize you in the everyday journey of our lives.
We seek your wisdom in the midst of the questions we have
about the circumstances we find ourselves in—
circumstances sometimes beyond our control,
but often of our own making.
Open our eyes, Light of the World,
to your work of transformation in and around us.
As we walk with you day by day,
may your new life be made manifest in what we say to others.
Help us to understand the power of our words to hurt or to heal;
give us the graciousness to make all our conversations holy.
Just as we desire that our speaking be holy,
may our seeing be holy as well.
We are bombarded with images everyday, O Christ,
that shape our attitudes and behaviors.
As you opened the scriptures to the disciples
and taught them everything,
open our eyes to behold you in your Word,
in the beauty of nature,
the beauty of another human being
and the beauty of sacred art.
And in our seeing,
help us to recognize and welcome the stranger in our midst.
May our welcome be a celebration of the gifts and graces
of persons who are different from us
and not merely some token tolerance of an outsider.
You were known to the disciples in the breaking of the bread.
May your resurrection presence guide us in the decisions we make
about what we take into our bodies—
especially what we eat and what we drink.
Help us to understand our eating and drinking as sacred events,
not to be abused or approached mindlessly.
So often we forget, Holy One
that you invite us to abide with you,
to have our lives hidden in you.
We thank you that you travel with us in our joys and our concerns. Amen.
(Source: The Church of Ireland website)

Prayer of commitment
Living Jesus,
whose presence on our daily road
we often fail to see;
warm our hearts with fresh confidence in your Word,
so that, in making room for the stranger beside us,
we find your hospitality awaiting us,
and the reassurance of your presence
to inspire us to tread the road again
and to share the good news of your resurrection life.
(Source: Monthly Prayers, Christian Aid website)

Kitchen maid with the supper at Emmaus circa 1618

Kitchen Maid with the Supper at Emmaus
She listens, listens, holding
her breath. Surely that voice
is his – the one
who had looked at her, once, across the crowd,
as no one ever had looked?
Had seer her? Had spoken as if to her?
Surely those hands were his,
taking the platter of bread from hers just now?
Hands he’d laid on the dying and made them well?
Surely that face-?
The man they’d crucified for sedition and blasphemy.
The man whose body disappeared from its tomb.
The man it was rumored now some women had seen this morning, alive?Those who had brought this stranger home to their table
don’t recognize yet with whom they sit.
But she in the kitchen, absently touching the winejug she’s to take in,
a young Black servant intently listening.
swings round and sees
the light around him
and is sure.
(Words: Denise Levertov. The link also has information about the painting)

The presence of God
1. The presence of God unfolds in minds
Exploring mystery’s haze.
Yes, God is found within the minds
That search for wisdom’s ways.

2. The presence of God is seen by eyes
Which look behind each face.
Yes, God is found within the eyes
That find life’s joy and grace.

3. The presence of God is heard through words
That praise us and sustain.
Yes, God is found within the words
That sing love’s sweet refrain.

4. The presence of God is felt through hands
That gently share their power.
Yes, God is found within the hands
That help our spirits flower.

5. The presence of God is in the now
Of every day and night
For those with open hearts and minds
Who use their inner sight.
(Source: Text & Music © William Livingstone Wallace, MP3 music file here, score here)

HYMN: This is a day of new beginnings 
This is a day of new beginnings,
time to remember and move on,
time to believe what love is bringing
laying to rest the pain that’s gone. 

For by the life and death of Jesus
love’s mighty Spirit now, as then, 
can make for us a world of difference,
as faith and hope are born again. 

Then let us, with the Spirit’s daring, 
step from the past and leave behind
our disappointment, guilt and grieving,
seeking new paths, and sure to find. 

Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do. 
This is a day of new beginnings – 
our God is making all things new. 
(words: Brian Wren; Music: Douglas Gailbraith)

Progressive Hymn(Tune: ‘Marching’, 87 87)
When life juggles with our learning,
with the things we thought secure,
then it seems the artist’s palette
spins and faith becomes obscure.

In the wash of different colours,
as we seek for shape and form,
others paint their faith by numbers
forcing God to fit some norm.

But when life has torn the canvas,
when the numbers twist and slip;
then we need to find an image
that will help our hope to grip:

holding us, when we’re past holding,
grounding when we’re insecure,
till we find a faith, not drifting,
still dynamic, free, yet sure.
(Source: Andrew Pratt 2010)

On the road (hearts are burning) by David MacGregor
(score, lyrics and MP3 backing track on link)

For far too long
we have walked in fear
Far too long in despair
‘til Christ transcending
transforms, revealing
in bread that is broken and shared

Hearts are burning
Spirits stirring
Eyes are op’ning
On the road
   Hearts are burning
Spirits stirring
As Christ meets us … on the road

O Christ, your presence
It draws, awakens
Your Spirit within us ignites
O Lord, inspire us
O Lord, sustain us
You send us to love, be your light

Hearts are burning
Spirits stirring
Eyes are op’ning
On the road
Hearts are burning
Spirits stirring
Christ, you meet us … on the road
Hearts are burning
Spirits stirringChrist, you meet us … on the road

(Source: David & Dale MacGregor,  © 2017 Willow Publishing)

HYMN: For Your Generous Providing (Tune: Austria)
For your generous providing
which sustain us all our days,
for your Spirit here residing,
we proclaim our heartfelt praise.
Through the depths of joy and sorrow,
though the road be smooth or rough,
fearless, we can face tomorrow
for your grace will be enough.

Round your table, through your giving,
show us how to live and pray
till your kingdom’s way of living
is the bread we share each day:
bread for us and for our neighbour,
bread for body, mind, and soul,
bread of heav’n and human labour –
broken bread that makes us whole.

SONG: Beside us
O God, your wounded world cries out
in grief and sorrow, pain and fear
and suffering causes some to doubt
that you are here beside us.
Restore our hope,
enrich our faith,
give us the courage to believe 
that in the darkest of our days
you’ll come and walk beside us.

When those in power abuse their trust
and crush the ones whom they oppose
the weak are trampled in the dust
yet you are here beside them.
Let mercy reign,
let justice flow,
tear down the walls of hate and fear
till in their place forgiveness grows
because you walk beside us.

When some are victims of deceit
and truth is twisted out of shape,
when lies define the battle-lines
come near and walk beside us
until we learn 
the ways of peace
and all can share the feast of life.
Then all the world shall come to see
You always walk beside us.
(Source: Iain D. Cunningham 2014)
[Tune: An Cluinn Thu Mo Nighheann Donn]

Pilgrim 11am music (Common Praise) 156, 341, 157, 501

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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