EASTER 3

April 30, 2017
THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
 
Shortly after this Sunday, area colleges will hold their last classes for the academic year.  Then finals. [This building will be open for students to study for finals May 13-22.]
 
After finals?  Graduation for some.  Military commissions.  Jobs.  Getting on the road home.  Internships.  Summer jobs.  Summer school.  Staying to do classes or research or . . . .  Then back into it again in a few short months. 
 
We are just two weeks after Easter.  That early Jesus group had to wrestle with a final that proved to be not so final.  The authorities thought that putting Jesus to death was going to end all this challenging nonsense about justice, peace, love, forgiveness, welcoming the other.  But . . . . . . .
 
Two of Jesus’ disciples are heading home on the evening of that first Easter. They are going west, facing the setting sun.  They are joined in the journey by a stranger, whom they later recognize as Jesus.  But for now, apparently the setting sun in their eyes prevents them from seeing the rising Son in their midst. Only later do they reflect that their hearts were warmed when the stranger explained scripture to them.

One of the parts of this story I have always pondered and appreciated is that Jesus continues on his journey after they have reached the home of the disciples. He does not force his way into their lives.    They invite him into their home, to stay the night, to share bread. As he shares bread with them, they recognize who he is.  Maybe it was his hands or the way he held the bread.  Maybe it was the scars revealed when his sleeves fell back and exposed his wrists.  Whatever it was, they run back to Jerusalem, to the east, facing the direction of the rising sun, to tell others their story.

As we near the end of a semester and year, this story suggests that Jesus gets on the road with people.  But does not force himself upon people.  He waits to be invited in.  He is not confined or restricted by geography.  Jesus is mobile and goes with people into all aspects of their lives, as invited and welcomed. He is not limited to ‘the church’ building; he goes home with people.

All our best to all who soon conclude classes and face finals: students, faculty, and staff.  This new and lively Jesus wants to go with you into these steps and into your next steps. He invites us to keep facing the Rising Son.

Further Reflection
When have you learned something good from a stranger?

Where have you been surprised by Jesus being with you ‘on the road’ or ‘at home’?

PRAYER OF THE DAY
O God, your Son makes himself known to all his disciples in the breaking of bread. Open the eyes of our faith, that we may see him in his redeeming work, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.   Amen.
 
LESSONS AND PSALM
Acts 2:14a, 36–41
     Psalm 116:1–4, 12–19
1 Peter 1:17–23
Luke 24:13–35
 
CHILDREN’S SERMON: “Telling”
SERMON:  by Bishop Macholz
 
WORD OF THE WEEK    from Luke 24
30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They 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?" 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
                                                                                            
FIRST LESSON from Acts 2:14a, 36–41

Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed [the crowd]: 36"Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified."

            37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" 38Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him." 40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

 
SECOND LESSON from 1 Peter 1:17–23

If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 21Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.

            22Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 23You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
 
THE HOLY GOSPEL according to Luke 24:13–35

Now on that same day [when Jesus had appeared to Mary Magdalene,] two [disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad. 18Then 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?" 19He 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, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But 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. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and 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. 24Some 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."

            25Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. 28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But 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.

            30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They 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?" 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.