Morning Worship - 19th April 2020

Wasn't it like a fire burning in our hearts?

Abba, Father, listen to our prayer on this Sunday morning.

Listen to the words that are in our hearts

as we call upon you to remember us and come near to us.

The longing that is within us is to know you are near

so we call upon you, in Jesus' name, - Abba, Father, remember us.

 

We thank you, as we always do, for the Lord Jesus

who came into this world to become the Light of the World.

And we are so glad that he has come into our hearts

and is the Light of our lives.

 

We often stumble and fall; dark clouds often seize us;

there is much for which we seek forgiveness.

May you loving forgiveness set us upon our path again

and may we, in our turn, forgive those we name quietly now.

Lord, speak to us through your Word.

May your Spirit touch and inspire our minds and hearts.

We pray this, in Jesus' name.

Amen

 

Just after Mary Magdalene and the other women told Peter and the other disciples that they had found the tomb empty Luke tells us about another two disciples who were travelling from Jerusalem to Emmaus that same evening.

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.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on.  But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them.  When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.  Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.  They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”  That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.  They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!”  Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Country road near Jerusalem

There are two things in this reading that are of great importance. The first is the comment made by the two companions -

'we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel'

 

There was a great hope that one day God's Spirit would return to Israel and that God would reign as King. Then the poor and helpless would be cared for, children would have a chance to live their lives, the elderly treated with respect, those who planted vineyards would enjoy their wine - it would not be drunk by others, those who built houses would live in them - they would not be made homeless . This was the 'RESTORATION OF ISRAEL'  which the two companions had hoped Jesus of Nazareth would bring about. With his death on the cross it seemed that all their hopes were dashed.

 

The second matter of importance -

When he was at the table with them, he took bread,

blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him;

 

The 'breaking of bread'  is the Lord's Supper, the meal Jesus asks all his followers to share together in remembrance of him. It was then that their eyes were opened and they recognised Jesus.

“Were not our hearts burning within us

while he was talking to us on the road,

while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 

In time Jesus disciples came to realise that with his rising the 'restoration of Israel' had indeed come upon them. Jesus always referred to it as 'the Kingdom'. As the number of followers of Jesus grew and grew so the signs of God's Kingdom and reign were seen more and more - widows and orphans were cared for, the sick and dying comforted, the broken and lost welcomed. These are still the signs of God's Kingdom and reign seen in the world today - wherever God's people are praising and caring in Jesus' name. 

Lord Jesus,

may your Spirit continue to open our eyes 

that we might see the signs of your Kingdom around and within us.

Lord Jesus,

may your Spirit continue to open our hearts

that we might bring comfort and welcome to all whom we meet.

Lord Jesus,

hear us as we pray quietly now

for our families

for our neighbours

for our friends

for all those who are caring in this crisis

for all who are now mourning.

 

Show us, Lord, what it is that we are to do

to help those whom we have named in our prayer.

Amen.

How lovely is thy dwelling-place,
O Lord of hosts, to me!
The tabernacles of thy grace
how pleasant, Lord, they be!

 My thirsty soul longs veh’mently,
yea faints, thy courts to see:
My very heart and flesh cry out,
O living God, for thee.

Blest are they in thy house that dwell,
they ever give thee praise.
Blest is the one whose strength thou art,
in whose heart are thy ways:

May the peace of the Lord Jesus go with you,

wherever he may send you,

May he guide you through the wilderness,

protect you through the storm.

May he bring you home rejoicing

at the wonders he has shown you.

Amen.