top of page
  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

509 Let's get ready for tomorrow's Emmaus Celebration. Bring a stone with you to the meal.

Day 509 Saturday August 7th 2021

Emmaus Celebration for August 8th, 2021

“You need to let your wounds go down to your heart. Then you can live them through and discover they will not destroy you. Your heart is greater than your wounds"


Tom Bachelder has several announcements about Irene's Celebration of Life. We will hold the first part of the celebration outside at St. Leo's starting at 3:00 next Saturday. It may be sunny and warm and Tom asks that we bring umbrellas or pop-ups to create shade.

Emmaus Celebration for August 8th, 2021

In preparation for our meal please bring a small stone along with your bread, wine, fruit juice or other drink.

We begin at 4:45 with our usual joyful welcome

Join Zoom Meeting using this link

Passcode: 1234

Meeting ID: 519 315 8573

One tap mobile +16699006833,,5193158573# US (San Jose)

Opening Meditation by Nancy McFarland:

In my role as a hospital and hospice social worker, I often would walk into situations over which I had no control. There were suffering, grieving, terrified friends and family members of that person lying in bed. I was expected to say words of wisdom – to somehow make it all better – maybe even make all the suffering and anxiety and loss go away. To spread the Balm of Gilead like butter on bread.

That’s how we understand the role of the chaplain. But it’s not like the TV movies.

But little by little I grew to understand that I had to change my role with the patients and those they loved who hovered over them waiting for words of hope when sometimes there was only the knowledge that life was changing or even ending.

My role became much more real -- a new orientation to my work, one that was more contemplative in nature, not focused on fixing, doing or changing anything; rather, meeting a patient heart to heart, with openness, presence, and deep receptivity and a desire to energize and be energized.

As Henry Nouwen writes:

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

And so my approach changed:

I had to let go of any preconceived ideas of how to solve a problem, control the situation, but rather engage the other, not as I the helper, or they as the victim of circumstance but rather as someone who could touch the wounds with a warm and tender heart. My heart. Understanding that whatever the chaos and sadness we face -- we face it together.

It is a bit of a walk in the wild that opened me up to share my vulnerability with theirs. It is this vulnerability that forces us beyond ourselves.

Whenever we see the pain in front of us, we are drawn out of our own preoccupations and want to take away the pain. When we rush toward a hurting child, or a family in crisis we also rush toward the suffering God.

We want to take the suffering in our arms. That’s why so many saints wanted to get near suffering—because as they said again and again, they meet Christ there. Their vulnerability “saved” them from their smaller self. Pope Francis challenges us to take this journey and to become “field hospitals” joining others in their struggles. It is Jesus saying to the people “Roll away the stone” – the first step in bringing Lazarus back to life.

In the story of Lazarus we understand how Jesus shares our pain and touches our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

From entering into the pain of another, a deeper wisdom emerges, and it is that wisdom that informs me how to use my skills as a social worker and a Christian in an empowering way and leads to change in ways I might never have imagined. (give example?) And we BOTH go away changed.

As Rumi says, “Out beyond wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field, I’ll meet you there.”

We have all suffered through the confusion and chaos of these last months – and it is confusing and anxiety producing. And I am weary. I’m tired of being tired.

I’m often brought to tears when I see the endless argument, the arrogance of politicians, and continuing racial injustice. In light of new threats from the pandemic, with all the divisiveness in the political arena, voter suppression, conspiracy theories, etc., It seems we are called at this time to engage – and not to retreat into our own hospital rooms, alone and waiting for words of wisdom. We have to remember that We are the good news. We are the warm and loving hand.

And I believe we have the courage and the humility to bridge the divide and to meet people heart to heart.

“You need to let your wounds go down to your heart. Then you can live them through and discover they will not destroy you. Your heart is greater than your wounds"

Through prayer, we lean more deeply on God. Through reflection, alone or with our community of Emmaus, we learn again to nourish the virtue of hope. “Active hope,” Joanna Macy calls it – a force that begins with gratitude, invites us to honor the pain we feel for the world, widen our vision, and take the next step.

This evening I hope we can take a few moments through contemplation and sharing to reach out beyond our comfort zone, and recognize how we too may have been complicit, that we too are in need of healing. That we may take the next steps on our journey of faith and understand that we are all called to lean into situations of chaos and loss, as chaplains in the field hospital of life.

Let’s begin in a contemplative way by listening to a song I love – the Our Father sung in the same Aramaic Jesus used when he gave this prayer to his disciples. This will be followed by our opening blessing.

Opening Song: Our Father in Aramaic

Opening Blessing

“Blessing in the Chaos” by Jan Richardson

To all that is chaotic

in you,

let there come silence.

Let there be

a calming

of the clamoring,

a stilling

of the voices that

have laid their claim

on you,

that have made their

home in you,

that go with you

even to the

holy places

but will not

let you rest,

will not let you

hear your life

with wholeness

or feel the grace

that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you


Let what divides you


Let there come an end

to what diminishes

and demeans,

and let depart

all that keeps you

in its cage.

Let there be

an opening

into the quiet

that lies beneath

the chaos,

where you find

the peace

you did not think


and see what shimmers

within the storm.

© Jan Richardson, from her book The Cure for Sorrow

The First Reading is called Healing By The Poor

It is only when I begin to discover my need to pretend that I am superior, that I can begin to see what is broken in me.

It is only then that I can enter into a relationship of mutual communion of hearts. One heart to one heart. One example of this is with Eric, a young man with severe disabilities

It is not only a question of doing things for him; this is of course important; but it is just a beginning. It is also important for him to meet my heart, for us to become vulnerable to each other, for us to learn to admit to each other that we are both fragile and vulnerable and that we have been brought together.

Jesus became flesh. "To become flesh" is a very strong expression. Jesus did not just become a human being; he did not just become a man; he became flesh. Flesh is fragile; it moves and it is vulnerable. Jesus became vulnerable. We, however, are afraid of the vulnerability of Jesus, so we reject him, perpetuating division, keeping the stone around our hearts in order to avoid the communion of hearts. The message Jesus gives us is that he has come to give us a new reality: that we can accept ourselves as we are in our brokenness.

And when this happens, it is possible to accept each other. And then the walls can come down.

The question remains, Is this something true? Did Jesus really come to change my heart of stone into a heart of flesh? Is it really true that those that I reject are those who can heal me if I accept them, if I listen to them? I think this is our story that the poor and rejected of the world can heal us.

Can this be true? Can the Gospel be true? I can say from the witnesses I have seen, that yes, it is true. However, I cannot say that I am healed. I can only say that I am on a road of healing. I cannot say that I am transformed. I can only say that I am on a road of transformation. I believe that it is poor and the misbegotten and those who live in anxiety and many others like them around the world who have the capacity to heal us.

Our song for reflection is called the Queen's Prayer written by Liliʻuokalani the last Queen of Hawaii from her imprisonment by US Marines:

Your love is in heaven and your truth so perfect.

I live in sorrow imprisoned;

you are my light, your glory my support.

Behold not with malevolence the sins of humankind,

but forgive and cleanse.

And so, Oh Holy One, beneath your wings

be our peace forever more.

SONG: The Queen’s Prayer in Hawaiian

Second Reading from John – The story of Lazarus

So then Jesus said to the disciples clearly, “Lazarus has died.

Let us go to him.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; Martha said to Jesus, “Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.i

[But] even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.”

Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

She said to him, “Yes. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and the people with her weeping too, he became perturbed* and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “ Jesus, come and see.”

And Jesus wept.

So all the people said, “See how he loved him.” But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”


In this retelling of the Good News, Jesus lets the wounds of his grief go down into his heart. He allows the sadness to trickle from his mind into his center and it shows his vulnerability. He was made flesh - Like all of us and he weeps.

He shows us that we can live through our sadness and it will not destroy us. His heart, like our heart is greater than our wounds. We begin by rolling away the stone and opening our hearts – sometimes through the tears.

How many of us carry stones of anxiety, resentment, and loss in our minds? And how can we move the stone away to honor the pain we feel for the world, and widen our vision and free our hearts?

Think for a moment and reflect on the stone that needs to be rolled away from our hearts.

Please share your thoughts or feelings about rolling away our own stones.

End of Shared Homily

We offer these thoughts from our hearts to the world (open wide our arms)

The Meal:

We meet at our individual tables and celebrate our unity

We are warm and tender hands and we bring our hearts together as one in this meal.

We begin with gratefulness because each of us has been blessed many times throughout our lives.

For this meal

We give thanks

For our community

We give thanks

For this day and the colors of summer

We give thanks

Let’s take a moment to thank those people who have helped us to roll stones away from our hearts to expose our own vulnerability: If you’d like to say a name please do so.

It’s hard to believe that we are celebrating the same meal as Jesus more than 2,000 years ago. Today we gather together as one community of disciples and celebrate with bread and wine. This is a table of hope, heart and Spirit.

We remember that the Jesus who became flesh took the bread, and in gratefulness offered the bread and the cup to each one, saying these these words:

Take this all of you, eat and drink, for this is my life which will be given up for you.

Let us pray: O God, Mother and Father of Us All

O God, Mother and Father of Us All, Like your son, Jesus of Nazarus, who blessed a variety of human relationships: parents and children, siblings, masters and servants, tax collectors and citizens, prostitutes and thieves foreigners and their companions, the wealthy and the poor, may we have the wisdom and grace to foster, strengthen, and support all loving relationships and all families.

May your command to love one another as you have loved us, O God, cause us to pay heed to the movement of your Holy Spirit, who calls us to embrace the rainbow of loving human relationships, that reflect your love for all of humanity in its wonderful diversity.

May we speak out courageously when others try to pass laws that exclude, diminish, or demonize other persons and their families because of who they are, whom they love or their status as determined by unjust laws.

May we take to heart what we know to be true: that where love and charity prevail, you are to be found. We ask this, as always, through your Many Holy Names. Amen.

- Bernard Schlager

The Kiss of Peace:

Let’s offer a sign of our peace to each of us celebrating this special meal together.

Invitation to Eucharist

We invite everyone to this table in kinship and respect. We believe as Teilhard de Chardin that what is God’s desire “is nothing less than the growth of the world borne ever onwards in the stream of universal becoming.” In his offering of the bread and wine he sees in its depths “a desire, irresistible, hallowing, which makes us cry out believer and unbeliever alike: ‘Holy Spirit, make us one.’

And in that spirit of a beloved community, “we extend the invitation of Jesus to each and everyone of you to take and eat, to take and drink. “Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is a caravan of hope. Here we encounter sisters and brothers. Where stones are moved to let the light in that breaks open our hearts

COMMUNION SONG: Companions on the Journey

Final Blessing: The Pilgrim Prayer

We offer our souls to the wide sky

The road not yet discovered

Eyes blinking in amazement

Walking a pilgrimage

Each footstep a sun blazed blessing

The road heals our hearts

Warmed with the Spirit

The pilgrim’s road

The road to Emmaus

Here we encounter sisters and brothers

Where light enters and breaks open our hearts

And the blessed community says


46 views0 comments
bottom of page