Lectionary: Acts 2:14a, 36–41, Psalm 116:1–4, 12–19, 1 Peter 1:17–23, Luke 24:13–35
Theme: Living as Easter People
My 5 year-old son gets really excited when he realizes that is it communion Sunday. It might have something to do with the yummy Hawaiian bread that is served, but after receiving, he always asks if he can have more. I think he’s on to something here. What if all of our people wanted to spend more time in table fellowship? It isn’t by chance that Jesus is recognized in our story from Luke by his breaking bread. There is something special that happens while breaking bread with others. It forces you to see, really see, the other person.
Jesus spent much of his earthly ministry breaking bread with others. It was during these moments where he was able to do some of his most profound teaching and relationship building. He was able to see the heart of those with whom he was eating, and they were able to more fully understand Jesus’ message. And a large proportion of this table fellowship was spent eating with those whom a good Jewish boy should not be fraternizing. Meals for Jesus were a time to feed the entire person: mind, body, and soul.
As a community of faith, Luke’s account of Jesus with Cleopas and the other, can serve as a wonderful pattern for us follow in our weekly work. These two are heading down the road from Jerusalem after leaving the community of disciples to return to their pre-Jesus lives. They are still confused and sad, and as they walk, they replay the events trying to make some sense out of it all. Then, they are joined by a mysterious stranger – they don’t recognize that it is Jesus – who begins to question them about their conversation. On one hand, they are amazed that he had not heard about the crucifixion. But, in a wonderful irony, Luke indicates that it is actually these two who are unknowing, because they don’t know that Jesus has joined them on their journey. As they reach their destination, Jesus begins to leave, but they beg him to stay with them. His teaching has obviously touched them, and they don’t want the conversation to end. So Jesus accepts their invitation and joins them at the table. Can’t you imagine the grin that comes to Jesus’ face, as he breaks the bread and their eyes are opened, their joy return, and they run to tell their friends back in Jerusalem?
In our worshipful work, we find people at points all over the road of discipleship. Just like Jesus met them on the road, we are called to meet people where they are. We unpack the scriptures to help them make sense of their lives through the lens of God’s love and story. Then we gather at the table to receive grace and nourishment by the presence of the risen Christ. Finally, we send people back into the world to partner with God in love and service, pronouncing the Kingdom of God. And as Easter people, who worship a Lord who has risen victorious over the grave, we celebrate that Jesus does not stay within the confines of a tomb or the walls of the church. The risen Christ continues to break bread with us wherever, whenever, and whoever we may be.
Questions to Consider:
Does your congregation understand the meaning of Holy Communion? Consider unpacking some of the liturgy to help your people have a greater connection to the story.
Do you have an intentional practice of commissioning and sending forth your people as Christ’s disciples in the world? Do they understand that attending worship is just the beginning of their work?
“I Come with Joy to Meet My Lord”
“Christ Is Alive, Let Christians Sing”
“Open My Eyes that I May See”
“In Remembrance of Me”
Lord of Life, submitting to death, you conquered the grave.
By being lifted on a cross you draw all peoples to you.
By being raised from the dead
you restored to humanity all that we had lost through sin.
Throughout these fifty days of Easter
we proclaim the marvelous mystery of death and resurrection.
For all praise is yours, now and throughout eternity. Amen.
James F. White
God of wonder and mystery: You walk alongside us on the journey of our lives; yet like those on the Emmaus road, we spend most of our journey oblivious to your presence. Like them, we are so focused on our own fears and uncertainties, we miss that the world is becoming something new with every step. Bless, gracious Lord, the gifts we give this morning. We thank you for the privilege of participating in your world-changing plans. We pray in the risen Savior’s name, Jesus the Christ. Amen. Ken Sloane
Go now as witnesses of God’s eternal presence.
The risen Christ has made himself known to you
in the breaking of bread,
so set your faith and hope on God,
fulfilling your vows and living in genuine mutual love.
And may God hear and respond whenever you call;
May Christ Jesus make himself known to you in all things;
And may the Holy Spirit open your eyes and set your hearts on fire with love.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
……..In the name of Christ. Amen.
Taken from http://laughingbird.net