Morning Worship - 26th April 2020

The breaking of the bread

Everlasting Father,

on this beautiful Sunday morning with the bluebells and ramsons in flower and the mornings filled with song

we hold a moment of quietness

and in our heart and prayer ask you, O Lord, to be near.

In this Spring season life is all around

in the fields and trees, the roadside hedges, the sea and the night.

Yet in the beauty there is also worry and struggle.

And so we turn our hearts to the Lord Jesus.

 

Lord Jesus, you told us not to be afraid and not to worry about tomorrow;

your promise is that if we come to you with our troubles and burdens

you will give us moments of rest.

Lord, breathe your spirit and peace into our hearts;

may a stillness be within; may we be free from our troubles for a while.

 

We ask for your loving forgiveness to drive away all regrets and hurts,

all our failings and weakness;

and we, in our turn, seek to pardon and forgive as we know we should.

 

Lift us, Lord, onto our path again.

And whatever tomorrow may bring

may we know you will be there to lead us home.

Amen.

 

Our reading is the second part of the story of the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus in which their eyes are opened and they come to recognise Jesus.

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.

 

Luke 24 : 28 - 35

"Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread."

 

The phrase 'the breaking of the bread' meant one thing only - the sharing of bread and wine  in remembrance of Jesus - what is now called holy communion.

 

For generations the church in Scotland looked upon communion as a very special and scared event. Congregations would set aside three or four Sundays a year for it; a special 'preparatory service' was held beforehand; the pews would be covered with linen to mimic a table; communion tokens or cards were delivered to those who took part;  when asked 'why only three times a year ' - answer - 'because it is so special '. (When the Roman and English churches were asked 'why every Sunday ' - answer - 'because it is so special '.)

But in Jesus' day bread and wine were very ordinary and everyday. Wine was safer to drink than water because easier to keep fresh; and bread was used at every meal where it served as a knife and fork. A piece was broken off and dipped into a dish of salt, olive oil, or pureed vegetables. 

 

In the earliest days of the Jesus Movement his disciples and followers met in each others homes and shared meals together. And whenever they met, as a Christian family, they would share a piece of bread and a cup of wine  and do so to remember all he did and promised for them.

 

The phrase 'the breaking of bread' meant both the remembering and the gathering together in Jesus' name. It is another of Jesus' great Promises -

 

"For where two or three are gathered in my name,

I am there among them."

It is when we meet together, in Jesus' name, and for his sake,

that our eyes are opened and our hearts burn like fire.

Seek out the opportunities to do so.

Ask for them to be made available

and when they arise

knock on the door -

it will be opened for you.

Lord Jesus, may it be the desire of my heart,

to look for the little places, the little ones, the little corners,

where I can be with others in your name,

and find that together we become your family

upon whom your blessings shall flow.

On this Sunday morning our prayer is again for all who struggle

in these days of crisis and uncertainty.

We remember those who have lost loved ones;

we remember those in care homes worried about tomorrow;

we pray for the staff in the care homes;

and for all who work in the hospitals from surgeons to cleaners.

 

And show us your way, O Lord,

that we might share with those who are in need.

This, Lord, is our prayer, in Jesus' name.

Amen.

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

by Horatius Bonar

to the tune Kingsfold

 

This is My Desire

by Rueben Morgan

of Hillsong

 

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.