Sermon 4/11/2021: Easter Sunday Afternoon (Eastertide I)

At this time, due to Coronavirus concerns, many are not quite ready to return to face to face worship. If this includes you, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/535061080

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/crfQ3CVnY7B

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Please recommit your life to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord with the words of The Centering Prayer:

Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help.
I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life.
Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not.
Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature.
Help me to serve you in flow as I am gifted.
Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood.
I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

HYMN What A Friend We Have In Jesus
Alan Jackson – What A Friend We have In Jesus [with lyrics]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCV5t8wRBI8

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN Be Still My Soul
Celtic Thunder – Be Still, My Soul (Lyrics)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RSyMGhsQ9I

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: Easter Sunday Afternoon
Text: Luke 24:13-49, Psalm 23
Series: Building Bridges from Easter to Pentecost

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.

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SERMON NOTES

Luke 24:13-49
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cle’opas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning 23 and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, 29 but they constrained him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. 34 who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Psalm 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want; 2 he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; 3 he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

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HYMN God Be with You Till We Meet Again
God Be With You Till We Meet Again Jim Reeves – MVL – roncobb1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIu86zHy0Lw

(Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

BENEDICTION: Let us dedicate ourselves to the service of Jesus by joining in the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

(If you wish, you can listen to this prayer being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

Life is difficult. This is one of the foundational teachings of religion. Buddhism puts it this way. “Life is suffering.” Murphy’s Law says that, “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” But every journey – and life is a journey – is going to hit some rough spots. Life is difficult. But you know what helps us with that? Jesus walks with us in the midst of every difficulty we encounter.

“It’s Friday,” we might say, “and Sunday’s coming.” But in the days between Friday and Sunday, there will be some difficulties. As the 23rd Psalm says it very, very plainly, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” and friends, that’s where we walk. But because Jesus walks with us, the 23rd Psalm says this: “I fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”

The valley of the shadow of death is a symbolic reality. Every single one of us has some sort of valley like that we have traveled through. But it’s also the name that is given to a particular path in Israel, from Jerusalem down to Jericho, the narrow little valley that you see in the picture on the screen. The walls hem you in from both sides, and there are caves. And in those caves, there might be wild animals, predators that would attack sheep. In those caves, there might be robbers that would attack people, just as the man who was helped by the Good Samaritan was attacked and left for dead. You see, there are times when it can get very narrow in that valley of the shadow of death. Life is difficult. Yet Jesus walks with us. And as Jesus walks with us, Jesus comforts us and guides us.

Today, we’re looking at the scripture that talks about the walk to Emmaus, and Jesus very plainly and explicitly uses the Bible to comfort these two followers and uses the Bible to guide them in what they need to do. Jesus is going to help us in this difficult time, but it’s helpful for us to understand that as we go from Fridays to Easter Sundays, Jesus is going to use the Bible to help us stay on the right path.

And finally, because Jesus walks with us, there is a wisdom from above. If you’ve ever tried to find your way through a garden maze, you can’t see except what’s just in front of you. But God sees everything, and if Jesus walks with us, we are guided by a wisdom from above.

And we’re guided to a destination, and the way between here and there follows God’s path, follows to God’s destination. Again, the 23rd Psalm puts it this way. “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the right path and paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” If we turn to Jesus who walks with us, Jesus will guide us through the maze of life, confusing and painful, though it may be at times, toward the place that we want to be and that God wants us to be. There is a wisdom from above that guides us on the journey.

The time is Easter Sunday, afternoon on Easter Sunday, and in Luke 24, it says That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem and talking with each other about all these things that had happened, Palm Sunday in the triumphal entry, all the activities of Holy Week, the death of Jesus upon the cross. They were talking about it all. And while they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near them and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

We might wonder just a little bit about how is it that they couldn’t recognize Jesus? Well, please remember, eyeglasses were not invented at that time. When I take my glasses off, I’m actually legally blind. I don’t know how well the disciples could see, but they did not recognize the man who was walking with them.

And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” Jesus asked them a question. And suddenly they’re standing still. It says, “And they stood still looking sad.”

What the disciples were feeling after Jesus died upon the cross was grief. They had a certain hope, they had a certain picture in their minds of what was going to happen. They had left behind their children, their families to travel these roads with Jesus because they had a very specific hope. And when Jesus died upon the cross, that hope was dashed into a million pieces.

There are four steps as survivors adjust to grief. The first step is to accept the reality that the way things were before is lost and is gone forever.

And when we experience a loss like that, then there’s pain. You can’t avoid it, you can’t skip it. Pain is longer or shorter for different people. But they are going to stand there still and look sad because that’s what it means to go through pain. It stops us from moving forward.

And they stood still looking sad. Verse 18, “Then one of them named Cleopas, answered him, are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And notice, again, verse 19, Jesus responds with a question. He wants to keep them talking about what they know and what they feel. That’s what we need to do in a time of grief. Keep talking. Keep being aware of what you know and what you feel. Verse 19, and he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty indeed, and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death and crucified.”

Then notice verse 21, which is where they identify the hope that was destroyed on Good Friday. They identify the loss for which they are grieving. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. To set the people free. To end the Roman dictatorial oppression of their nation. This was their greatest hope … that they had lost.

“Yes, and besides all of this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning. They did not find his body. And they came back saying that they had even 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 him they did not see.” In our time of grief, when life is difficult, there’s always something that seems to confuse and fill our environment with chaos. What could this possibly mean? What could this mean?

Luke 24:25, “And he said to them … now it’s time for Jesus to speak.” And he said to them, “Oh, foolish man and slow of heart, to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” Take a look at verse 26. Was it not necessary?

Do you know the most horrible part of grief and loss? The feeling that nothing has any meaning, that harm comes to us without any purpose, without any reason, as if God has no influence on this world. And Jesus speaks directly to that feeling of grief with these words.

Verse 26, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?” And in beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.

Recovering from grief requires us to make a turn in our life, to change our ways, to change our path, to change our destination, to change our hope. That’s what allows us to take the next two steps … to adjust to life without the hope that we had before, the people that we were with before, the dreams that we had before. We need to adjust to this new life where they’re not present and then continue to move forward and reinvest in what God makes possible, reinvest in this new life, whatever that means, this new reality.

And when Jesus explains to us how to adjust, when Jesus explains to us how to live this new life, when Jesus explains to us how to move into the future with confidence and hope and faith, Jesus will use the scripture to explain why all this pain, this suffering, this loss, this confusion, this fear, this sorrow, he will use the scripture to explain why it’s necessary.

Verse 28, So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained Him saying, “Stay with us for it is toward evening and the day is now spent, far spent. And in fact, soon the sun would go down. And this road at night when the robbers came out was extremely hazardous and dangerous to travel. “It’s not safe to travel at night. Stay with us,” they pleaded with their new friend.

So He went in to stay with them. And when He was at table with them, He took bread and blessed and broke it and He gave it to them. And as He did that act, so familiar, so similar to His action in distributing the body and blood as he called it on Maundy Thursday, it says in verse 31, their eyes were opened and they recognized Him. And in that moment, He vanished out of their sight. Verse 32, then they said to each other, did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the scriptures.

The holy scripture has a great influence upon our hearts and mind to change us and make us ready for what we need to do in this new reality. And all of a sudden, it doesn’t matter how dangerous it might be. Verse 33, “And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem, and they found the 11 gathered together. And those who were with them who said, “The Lord has risen indeed and has appeared to Simon. And then they told what had happened on the road and how it was known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

You see, as Jesus was explaining the Scripture to them, as His words sank into their minds and gave them a new perspective, as His words sunk into their hearts and gave them new hope, as they said, “Did not our hearts burn within us when He talked to us on the road while He opened to us the Scriptures,” Jesus brought about a resurrection in their hearts that we need to experience in our hearts.

You see, there is a wisdom from above. If you look at a garden maze like you see in the picture in front of you, as you’re walking through it, you can’t see which way to go. But God looks down upon us from above and sees how everything fits together. God has a higher perspective than you and I do.

We might be confused by this coronavirus. We might think it horrible how we have to behave in order not only for us to be safe, but our neighbors and others we love to be safe. We may be filled with confusion and uncertainty about what should be done. But God has no confusion because God sees our world from a higher perspective.

And if you want to see the world the way God sees it, you will find that perspective in the pages of the Bible. You will find that perspective available to you because it is revealed in the Bible. In this time between the times, our churches are beginning at Easter to figure out what we need to do to come out of our safe places and begin to do what we’ve done before.

But I’ll be honest with you friends, we don’t need to do anything different today than what is described that we should do in the pages of the Bible. And if you and I are reading the Bible, we’ll begin to understand what God wants for us right now and in the days to come. It is revealed in the Bible, everything we should say, everything we should do, who we should say it to, who we should do it with. It’s Easter now but summer’s coming. And everything you and I need to do between now and summer arriving, everything we need to do after summer is here, you will find it in the pages of the Bible.

Because everything Jesus told us to do, we should still be doing.

Every way that Jesus described how the Church should function in the Bible, that is still how the Church should function today.

There is wisdom from above, and if you study the Bible, you will learn that perspective. Because Jesus comforts and guides us by using the Bible. How do we keep each other safe? How do we bring life back into our communities? Jesus guides us by using the Bible.

I’m not certain how you might feel about a celebrity pastor, Joel Osteen, but there is one thing that I deeply admire. And that’s in the church that he pastors, where multiple services on a weekend will reach tens of thousands of people, it’s my understanding that in every one of these worship services, their call to worship is something they say together. People hold up their Bible, and they say these words,

“This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I can do what it says I can do. Today, I will be taught the word of God. I boldly confess: my mind is alert, my heart is receptive, I will never be the same. I’m about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible, ever-living seed of the word of God.” What does that mean? The truth that you will find within the Bible will grow within your heart and mind like a seed. It goes on to say, “I will never be the same. Never, never, never. I will never be the same. In Jesus name. Amen.”

Friends, if this is your Bible – if you read it, if you learn it, if you live it – it will change your life and it will change our world and we will never be the same. We will be resurrected Easter people following Jesus today.

When Jesus guides us, Jesus uses the Bible to guide us.

When Jesus comforts us when life is difficult, Jesus uses the Bible to comfort us.

And life is difficult, but Jesus walks with us. As the 23 Psalm says, thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, thank you for the words of the 23 Plasm. Thank you for the words of Luke 24. Thank you, Lord, for all the other words that we find within the word of God that guide us and comfort us. Lord, help us to take these words into our hearts and minds so that they might grow within us like seeds until we are filled with the good fruit of the word of God in our lives.
Lord, we know that life is difficult. This past year has been difficult. This past month has been difficult. Lord, for some of us this last week has been very, very difficult.
But we know, Lord, that your word leads to a better life because you speak of green pastures and still waters. You speak of how our souls will be restored. You speak of a table in the presence of our enemies. You speak of cups that overflow. You remind us that goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives and that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Lord, I pray that you’ll remind us that your word will teach us how best to live. And so, Lord, in this Easter season, may it be a season that is designed and crafted by us according to the blueprint that you have laid out in the words of Jesus Christ that still comfort us and still guide us today. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ! Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources
Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.
 

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