Sermon April 24, 2022: Did Not Our Hearts Burn Within Us? (Eastertide 1)

Replace Me

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, 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/702443319

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c3fZcfVY0jz

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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: (St. Teresa of Avila:)

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which   He looks
Compassion on this world …
Yours are the feet with which he walks   to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks
Compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.


HYMN 454 Open My Eyes, That I May See
Open My Eyes, That I May See – Lyric Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tU8nM7S-LIw

(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 − Almighty God, through Jesus Christ you overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. Grant that we, who celebrate the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may, by the renewing of your Spirit arise from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

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 Thy Word Is A Lamp Unto My Feet
Amy Grant – Thy Word (Lyric Video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6LC8cu03Ig

(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: Did Not Our Hearts Burn Within Us?
Luke 24:13-35, Mark 16:9-14
Series: Instructions for Resurrection and Revival

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

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SERMON NOTES

Luke 24:13 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.

32 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?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them …

Mark 16:9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. 12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. 14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.   – Howard Thurman

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HYMN 526 What A Friend We Have In Jesus
Alan Jackson – What A Friend We Have In Jesus (Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znWu2HCJ92c

(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: Please recommit your life to the service of Jesus as Lord with the words of The Prayer of St 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

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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

TRANSCRIPT

As we move into Easter, I’m wanting us to look at what Jesus told the disciples to do in the days following his resurrection. You see, he’s getting them ready for what will happen after he ascends up to Heaven. He’s getting them ready to be the body of Christ … because God is now going to work through them to do what Jesus did.

And that goes right on down to today because these instructions are also for you and I because God is wanting to work through you and I as he has always wanted to work through his disciples. So what instructions does Jesus have for us about living a new life and learning to walk in newness of life? How do we do that?

Well, today we want to look at the first instructions following Easter Sunday morning. These are the two disciples who are walking on the way to a little village called Emmaus. And it’s Sunday afternoon in clock time.

But as you heard me say last week, for these two men, it’s still Friday. They’re still totally focused on Jesus dying on the cross. And they’re reeling with the question of what does that mean. For them, it’s still Friday. And I hope you’ll hear what Jesus says in the scripture today as being how we can move from Friday to Sunday, how we can move from the cross to learning how to walk in newness of life. We need to let Jesus explain it to us. But here’s where we begin. It was still Friday for these two men.

Psychiatrist William Glasser has a situation he calls a true dilemma. Now, he points out there are many kinds of false dilemmas. If you have a desire to lose weight, for example, you know what to do. And the strange thing, if you do what you know what to do, you will actually lose weight. But it’s actually not a dilemma because the problem is that people don’t do what they know they need to do.

A true dilemma, Glasser says, is one where you don’t know what to do. You’re completely up in the air and at sea, and you aren’t sure at all what to choose. And Glasser says, in a true dilemma like that, there is a restless activity. You begin to go to and fro, like a lion in a cage at the zoo, trying to find a way out of this problem. You cannot rest. You are completely restless, seeking a way out, seeking a solution.

The picture on the screen is a picture of a long row of doors down multiple halls. And that says true dilemma to me because people are going down the hall looking for the door that will open to where they want to go, and they can’t find it. So they just keep going. It’s like a hamster on a wheel Now, if you’re like me, this happens in the middle of the night all of a sudden at 03:00, what am I going to do about this? And my brain keeps coming up with one thing after another, none of which will work, but that doesn’t stop it from being restless.

I think this is what was going on in the minds of the two men who were walking to the village called Emmaus. They were trying to figure out what happened on Friday, and what they could do or should do. And you see, when we’re restless and we don’t understand, we need to think carefully about where we turn for understanding.

There is a thing with the news called the Fairness Doctrine. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that, but the Fairness Doctrine is if they have on the news somebody who says that the sky is blue, they’re required to find a nut somewhere who will tell you that the sky is purple so that they present multiple points of view. I think something that leads to that restlessness, that confusion, is an overwhelming amount of information that comes in that tries to explain what’s going wrong.

And you see, here’s the problem. You’ve got too much information.

If you think about problems the way the news people would do it, you’re going to be listening to Caiaphas. And I guarantee you, the high priest that crucified Jesus, he’ll have a different opinion. And if you talk to the Roman governor Pilate, who authorized it, he’ll have another opinion. And if you go back and say, well, I think I read in the prophets in the Old Testament this and this and this, there’s more information. If you go back to the books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, there’s more information. You have too much information, and none of this information will explain the problem that you’re struggling with. As a pastor, I have thousands of books. When you’re finished with Caiaphas, Pilate, the prophets, and Moses, you’re welcome to start on the book on the far left side and work your way through all 1000 of them to the other side. And I’ll guarantee you this, more information is not likely to help you with your anxiety.

What I would suggest to you that we need to do instead is listen to Jesus. There’s a story from the Old Testament. I believe it’s a Prophet, Elijah. God decides to speak and there’s a loud noise … and God decides to speak and there’s an earthquake … and then there’s a still small voice. And that is when Elijah goes out because he knows that God is speaking to him in a still small voice. Now, that doesn’t mean that God can’t be loud sometimes to get our attention. Sometimes God has to. But Elijah says, we need to look for that still small voice. And I’ll give you my opinion. Elijah doesn’t say what the still small voice says, but I’ll tell you what I think it says. I think it’s the voice of Jesus, and I think what it’s saying is “follow me.” In the midst of any problem, in the midst of all of our confusion, in the midst of all of our anxiety, we need to hear the still, small voice of Jesus and turn away from everything else and follow him.

Now, to be honest with you, I’d much rather you follow Jesus than follow your pastor! I’d much rather you listen to Jesus than even follow your own past experience! Because our Savior leads us out of a place of anxiety and trouble, and confusion that we experience on a Friday. Sooner or later, brothers and sisters, you’re going to have a Friday. And I hope you remember these words when that comes upon you, and knocks your feet out from under you. Listen for the still, small voice of Jesus and let him direct you.

That very day, two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles west from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. And while they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. Remember, Jesus said, “Wherever two or three are gathered in My name, there I’ll be in the midst of them.” Later, in Matthew 28, Jesus is going to say, “I will always be with you to the ends of the Earth.” When you’re struggling, Jesus is present, but you may not always be aware of that. Their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” He is interested in what they’re saying and feeling and thinking, and his question brings them to a complete halt. It says, “And they stood still, looking sad.”

Then, one of them named Cleopas— this is the only time in the entire New Testament where Cleopas is mentioned by name. We know nothing about this man, but he’s obviously one of the followers of Jesus Christ. 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 what Jesus says. And he said to them, “What things?” Now, you remember, Jesus was there. He does understand what happened, but he wants to hear from them. Jesus wants to hear from you. Jesus cares about what you think happened, your perception, your viewpoint. Jesus cares. Jesus wants to hear from you. And so, even though Jesus knows more than they will ever know, he says, “What things?”

And now, the two men describe their opinions to him “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed 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 him. But we had hoped– now this is something we have to keep in mind for those difficult Fridays. There is a great deal of pain that comes to us whenever we lose hope. At the heart of disappointment is the loss of hope. At the heart of a tragedy is the opposite of what we had hoped would come to pass. 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. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning 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. Imagine their tone of voice: These women are nuts! What should we do about this? Some of those who were with us, that means that Cleopas and this other unnamed person, were with the other disciples when they heard this. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it, just as the woman had said. This is also stated in other places in the scripture. Still, they did not believe. But him they did not see.

Jesus has listened to their confusion. Jesus has listened to their heartbreak. Jesus has listened to their opinions and what they understand. And now, finally, Jesus is ready to speak.

And he said to them, “O foolish fo men and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” And then here, I think, is one of the most beautiful and key phrases in the entire New Testament. For this sort of experience of suffering on a Friday, was it not necessary?

When you’re in the midst of a Friday, what’s at work to destroy your hope? What’s at work to harm your faith? It’s the sense and the fear that life is meaningless. And Jesus goes straight for that mistaken idea. Was it not necessary … the death of Christ on the cross … was a meaningful event? Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer, should suffer these things, death upon a cross, and enter into his glory?

And Jesus goes on to provide them with truth: And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Now, remember what I said earlier – that you shouldn’t pay attention to Moses? Well, I need to take part of that back. You need to pay attention to Moses when Jesus is explaining Moses to you. You need to pay attention to the prophets when Jesus … Jesus is explaining the prophets to you. Because Jesus is interpreting to you what Jesus wants you to know.

There are all kinds of alleys, and shortcuts, and tangents that you can go upon when you look into the Old Testament. Jesus is taking you to what is critically important. And we need to hear the still, small voice of Jesus, in the midst of our confusion and our despair. So that we can regain our hope and so that Jesus can bring meaning to the suffering that happens all around us.

They continue their discussion, they arrive at Emmaus, and they go to a restaurant, to an inn. It’s dangerous to travel at night. Jesus looks like he’s going to go on further. And they say, “No, no! Please don’t do that. Stay with us.” And they have supper. And when he breaks the bread, all of a sudden, they recognize him. And he disappears.

And the two of them look at each other, and they say these words: “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” And all of a sudden, it doesn’t matter how dangerous it is, it doesn’t matter how dark it is. There are armed robbers in the dark, waiting to murder travelers, from where they are to Jerusalem. But it doesn’t matter. They rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the 11 gathered together, and those who were with them, and they told them what Jesus said.
And what it reports to us in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 16, is, even so, they still did not believe.

Nonetheless, because Jesus came, Jesus was present. Because Jesus listened. And because Jesus spoke, these two men, Cleopas and his unnamed friend … there’s one scholar that says, “The reason we don’t know that other person’s name is because you’re supposed to imagine that that other person is you.” Because they heard from Jesus, it’s no longer Friday for them. They have been brought through to a view of the Resurrection. They are now living in newness of life.

Here are some questions that are helpful to me when I go through a Friday. When I sense that things are not what they should be, when things are going wrong. They come from a book by Spencer Johnson, M.D., called Yes or No. It’s a guide to making wise decisions. He says the first thing you need to do to make a wise decision when life is in turmoil, you ask this question. There’s more than this one, but this one is the one that means the most to me. Has three parts. The first question is, am I meeting the real need? If you ask everybody else, that can distract us from what is really happening. What is the real need here?” To me, quite often that question cuts through all the mistaken points of view. What’s the real need?

Second, am I informing myself of options? One of the worst things we can do when we’re getting ready to make a choice is to believe that there’s only one choice. And in fact, the way this most often presents itself is two choices, believe it or not, it’s either this one or that one – a binary. You only get this choice or that choice, and that can’t possibly be true! There are many, many choices, but quite often we prevent ourselves from seeing the options that are available to us.

And then the next question, am I thinking things through? Because when we deal with the confusion of a Friday, the grief of a Friday, the sorrow of a Friday, and we want to be well, we need to understand the real need. We need to understand not just one or two options, but all of the options. And we need to think things through. The worst thing that we can do is lunge at the first answer, as if that will take us out of that place of anxiety. The real need is to look deeply because there’s always more than one choice.

Generally speaking, you don’t want to take the first offer because there is always more than one choice. But the best answer is always worth the work that is necessary to find it. So it’s good when you’re on a Friday to be still. As I said to myself on that helicopter, I just need to wait till things clear up … because it’s Friday. But I knew answers would come. I knew that Sunday was coming, and we need to do the same thing when we find ourselves on a Friday.

I realized something this past week as I was praying about this amazing scripture, something I never realized before. My common understanding of the scripture was this, Cleopas and his friend are sad. They’re upset because Jesus died on the cross and all their hopes are dashed, and Jesus arrives and gives them what they need for that sadness.

What they need is a very long lecture out of the Bible that most of us would call a sermon. That’s how I’ve lived my life, friends, for many, many years. If somebody’s upset, what they need is a sermon. Not just any sermon, one that starts with Genesis and goes all the way to Revelation.

And all of a sudden I realized, this week, if the only problem Cleopas had was that he was sad, that was not the real need. If the only problem here was that Cleopas was sad, all Jesus had to do was, “Hey, guys, it’s me. You thought I was dead. You were wrong. Isn’t that funny? I’m alive.” And they wouldn’t be sad anymore.

And I said to myself, “Clearly, there must be another purpose for this biblical lecture,” because all the words of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation revelation through the prophets are needed. They serve an important purpose. What could that possibly have been? And I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know. But I do know this. Someone needed to hear Jesus explain the scripture. Maybe Cleopas is the disciple in the bunch that’s always quoting the Old Testament. Maybe Jesus sharing this information is so that Cleopas can share it with the other disciples so that they can believe. I don’t know. But one thing I do know, what Jesus did in that moment was exactly what was needed. But I may need to think about it before I will be able to completely understand it.

And friends, when you’re struggling, whatever Jesus does will be the right thing, of course. But you may need to think about it and let Jesus teach you more so that the next thing that you do will be guided by the one who says to you and me, “Follow me.”

Please pray with me, Lord. Jesus, wouldn’t it be lovely for there never to be a day like Good Friday? Wouldn’t it be lovely if we were never assaulted by fears and sorrows and griefs and tragedies that break our hearts, that cause us to lose hope? Wouldn’t it be wonderful, Lord, if there was never a thing like what is happening in the Ukraine today? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was never a Friday sort of tragedy happening anywhere in the world today?
But, Lord, this is the valley of the shadow of death. There will be Fridays.
But, Lord, we ask in the midst of those tragedies, in the midst of all that confusion as we try to figure out what is the meaning of this, Lord, help us to let you teach us about what the meaning is rather than listening to all the other voices in the world because, certainly, Lord, they’ll lead us in a direction, but is that your direction? Is that the best direction? Lord, Jesus, help us to be influenced by you as we walk this path of following you. Lord, just like the two on the road to Emmaus, we pray that you will come with us and teach us and guide us from difficult days into new life and resurrection days. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

So remember this on your Friday, God has a plan. God has a purpose. Your life is not meaningless. God is at work to fulfill that plan. But you may need to think about it because what God wants is not always obvious. But here’s the truth. We’re about to sing it. What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege it is to carry everything to God in prayer. Let’s stand and sing.

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.

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

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