1118: Easter is tomorrow: Let's Celebrate!
Day 1118: Easter Saturday, April 8, 2023
Let's get ready to celebrate tomorrow at Knox in person or on ZOOM:
Please join us tomorrow (Sunday, April 9, 2023) for our Emmaus community celebration starting at 3:45 pm
In Person at Knox Presbyterian / Thanksgiving Lutheran
1650 W 3rd St, 95401, Santa Rosa
Or Join Our Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 519 315 8573
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Easter Sunday Emmaus Liturgy Sunday, April 9, 2023
We don’t realize all the good we can do. A kind, encouraging word or helping hand can bring many a person through dark valleys in their lives. We weren’t put here to make money or to acquire status or reputation. We were sent here to search for the light of Easter in our hearts, and when we find it we are meant to give it away generously.
Easter is a gift to our hearts and to this beloved community. We are meant to celebrate and to carry away from this holy, community the gifts of healing and light and the courage of a new beginning.”
And so we begin the story of Mary the Magdala who rose early to care for the body of her beloved teacher Jesus. But the tomb was empty and she began to weep.
And as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.
“Because they have taken away my teacher,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
And Jesus, knowing the heart of Mary, the depth of her suffering and grief answered with deep compassion speaking only one word: Her Name
She turned to him and cried out, Teacher!
It only took one word spoken with kindness and deep understanding: Mary, and she becomes the first disciple to witness the risen Christ.
How many times has Jesus, our parents, our teachers from when we were little children, friends, family members, neighbors, children, grandchildren, the homeless, the grieving, called out our name and inspired us to continue on the road of faith that brings us all together, right here, right now in this community of Emmaus?
I can only imagine the names of people who have loved us and shown us compassion as Jesus showed his profound understanding of Mary, her grief and suffering as he called out her name.
And so I ask that we join in a reflection: to take a few moments to sit in silence, to breathe, to imagine that scene so long ago when Mary wept and then rejoiced in the presence of the risen Jesus – all within the span of a few moments.
This reflection has 2 parts – and in each part we’ll ask you to write some names:
1. Part One: Let’s take a few moments to hold in our hearts those people who have inspired us with their compassionate understanding of who we truly are, who see us for who we are – just as Jesus saw Mary.
(wait 2 minutes) Please write down a few names of the people who loved you, inspired you or you simply wish to remember as companions on tour life’s journey.
2. Part 2: Put down your pens and for a few moments think about the names we go by... For example: Jesus was teacher, friend, wise man and rabbi to Mary. What are the names we go by when we offer kindness to each other: Friend, Beloved, Sister, Brother, Mother, Father, Aunt, Nurse, Medic!, Teacher, Healer, Neighbor, Gardener, House Cleaner, Wise Woman, Wise Man? How have we responded with compassion to others in our various roles in life? Hold those people in your heart and rejoice in the gifts you have brought them.
(Wait 2 minutes)
Please write down the names of the people you have served with compassion, understanding and love – even when it’s a challenge…
Please keep all these names for sharing later in our Homily.
Opening Song: You are Mine by David Haas
Our First Reading:
Jesus died. But that was not the final word. What happened? Here is how Thich Nhat Hanh (1926- ), the Vietnamese Zen Master and ecumenical peace activist, comprehends it:
When we understand and practice deeply the life and teachings of Buddha or the life and teachings of Jesus, we penetrate the door and enter the abode of the living Buddha and the living Jesus. . .
Through your daily life, you can help Jesus or Buddha continue. You only need to walk in mindfulness, making peaceful, happy steps on our planet. Breathe deeply and enjoy your breathing.
Be aware that the sky is blue and that birds’ songs are beautiful. Enjoy being alive and you will help the living Jesus and the living Buddha continue for a long, long time.
Our Second reading is Good News from John:
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
This is the Good News of Easter!
Our questions are simple: Who are people in our lives who have inspired us to continue our journey of faith through their compassionate understanding of who we truly are, who see us for who we are – just as Jesus saw Mary.
Then think about the names we go by and how we offer support and compassion to to others - Jesus was teacher and rabbi to Mary. What are the names we go by when we offer kindness: How have we responded with compassion in our various roles in life?
We Share Our Meal:
Poet David Whyte tells us The Risen Christ cannot be found among the dead. Instead, the resurrection locates us in the here and now.
We are only saved, after all, in the present moment. None of us will live forever, but we can surely live “in the forever.” The Risen Life invites us to a full participation in our true inheritance.
One sign of our true inheritance is this simple meal of bread and wine which we have celebrated for so many centuries and which continues to inspire us with its simplicity.
What do we bring to the Table?
(After everyone shares what they bring to the table)
Let’s gather these prayers spoken and unspoken, bring them to our heart and send them into the universe.
We are gifts of the universe, bringing us forth to sing, to dance and to be joyful on its behalf, on behalf of all of creation.
We are gifts of the Great Mystery, permeating, penetrating and embracing everything that exists, and coming to human expression in us.
We are gifts of human love, of commitment, of risk, of hope, of trust, of promise, of dreams of what could be.
We are gifts of all the joy that love can bring, of dreams come true, of Divine possibilities.
We are gifts to be opened and shared, called to be co-creators of an evolving humanity, enablers of the “kingdom of God”.
We gather around bread and wine and the story of Jesus who lived the gift of human life.
We eat and drink today thankful for every person and every influence in our lives that have helped and opened us to live beyond our fearful inner voices and who have led us to embrace life wholeheartedly.
On the night before he died, Jesus was at table with his friends.
He took bread, gave thanks to you, broke it, and gave it to his friends saying,
All: “This is my body, broken for you.”
As supper was ending, Jesus took the cup of wine. Again he gave thanks to you, gave it to his friends and said,
All: “This cup is the new celebration of my life offered for you and for all.
And as often as you do this, You do this in memory of me.”
Now gathered at your table, we offer to you our gifts of bread and wine, and ourselves, as living offerings of your love. Pour out your Spirit upon all these gifts and all of us that we may be the Your Living Body, Your Lifeblood. Breathe your Spirit over the whole earth and make us all your new creation.
Now together, as one community, we offer to God,
our prayer, in the name of our brother, Jesus:
All: Father, Mother, God, Thank you for your presence
during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.
Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days,
for then we can share that which we have with those who have less.
And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days, for then we are able
to celebrate you and our families and our friends.
For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.
For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.
For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.
For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.
For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.
Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the
world that which we need most—Peace.
Let us now offer one another some sign of peace and love.
Everyone is welcome to this table.
Our God, whom the universe cannot contain is present to us in this bread.
Our God, who redeems us and calls us by name, now meets us in this cup.
So, come, Beloved Friends, and take this bread, Drink this wine,
In them, God comes to us, so that we may come to God.
Communion Song: One Bread One Body
The blessing of the morning light to you,
may it find you even in your invisible
appearances, may you be seen to have risen
from some other place you know and have known
in the darkness and that that carries all you need.
May you see what is hidden in you
as a place of hospitality and shadowed shelter,
may that hidden darkness be your gift to give,
may you hold that shadow to the light
and the silence of that shelter to the word of the light,
may you join all of your previous disappearances
with this new appearance, this new morning,
this being seen again, new and newly alive.
© David Whyte From EASTER BLESSING In Memoriam John O’Donohue