769: Sunday, April 24, 2022 Let's Celebrate!
Day 769 Sunday April 24, 2022 Let's get ready to celebrate TODAY!
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Emmaus Celebration for Sunday, April 24, 2022: Discipleship
created by Jacqueline Hayes and Patti England presiding.
Announcements led by David, recorded for distribution in daily blog
Jacqueline: Welcome and describe the theme -- Discipleship
[From the perceptive of those gathered in the Upper Room]
We were afraid that first Sunday night, just three days after Jesus died. Really afraid. We were afraid to go outside in case someone might recognize us as Jesus’ friends and notify the authorities….
So there we remained, tense, jumpy, simmering with anxiety. What happened Friday had been ugly, and we didn’t want it to happen to the rest of us. Every sound startled us. Suddenly, we all felt something, a presence, familiar yet…impossible. How could Jesus be among us?
And from that night, we learned something essential about what this uprising is going to be about. [This uprising of the gospel] isn't just for brave people, but for scared folks like us who are willing to become brave. It isn’t just for believers, but for doubting folks like Thomas who want to believe in spite of their skepticism. It isn’t just for good people, but for normal, flawed people like you and me and Thomas and Peter.
And I should add that it isn’t just for men, either. It’s no secret that men in our culture often treat women as inferior. Even on resurrection morning, when Mary Magdalene breathlessly claimed that the Lord had risen, the men among us didn’t offer her much in the way of respect. There were all sorts of ignorant comments about “the way women are.” Now we realize the Lord was telling us something by bypassing all of the male disciples and appearing first to a woman. As we look back, we realize he’s been treating women with more respect than the rest of us have right from the start.
Patti: When you get right down to it, there are no commands in the Bible to start churches. Instead, the prime directive is to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all Jesus commanded (Mt 28:18-20). The over-arching, prime directive from our Lord is to make disciples. This goal must be kept foremost in our thinking. Everything we plan ‘as church’ must be designed to ‘be disciples’ and ‘make disciples’. (Adapted from remarks by Brain McLaren)
Song from Bristol Synod meeting
Are we Believers or Disciples?
Over the past few decades, our Christianity has become obsessed with what Christians believe rather than how Christians live. We talk a lot about doctrines but little about practice.
But in Jesus we don’t just see a presentation of doctrines but an invitation to join a movement that is about demonstrating God’s goodness to the world.
This kind of doctrinal language infects our language when we say things like, “Are you a believer?” Interestingly, Jesus did not send us into the world to make believers but to make disciples [see Matthew 28:18-20]. You can worship Jesus without doing the things he says. We can believe in him and still not follow him.
In fact, there’s a passage in Corinthians that says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, author’s paraphrase).
At times our evangelical fervor has come at the cost of spiritual formation. For this reason, we can end up with a church full of believers, but followers of Jesus can be hard to come by.
One of the reasons that Francis of Assisi is so beloved is that he followed Jesus so closely.
Francis did something simple and wonderful. He read the Gospels where Jesus says, “Sell your possessions and give the money to the poor,” [Matthew 19:21] “Consider the lilies and the sparrows and do not worry about tomorrow,” [Luke 12:24, 27] “Love your enemies,”
[Matthew 5:44] and he decided to live as if Jesus meant the stuff he said. Francis turned his back on the materialism and militarism of his world and said yes to Jesus. (Adapted from remarks by Shane Claiborne)
Patti: I think we have joined a movement that is demonstrating God’s Goodness.
Song : Make Me a Channel of your Peace ---- https://youtu.be/mT8bybL_DqY
Gospel Reading from Luke 24: 13-35 Peter and Cathy
On the Road to Emmaus
13 …….. two of the disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19 “What things?” Jesus asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. The Gospel of the Lord.
Jacqueline: There is so much talk about the Synod on Synodality these days. It seems that most of us are ready to ‘tell the Synod what we think about all aspects of the formal Church”. We want to “speak”, but synodality isn’t about “speaking”, it’s about “listening”. Let’s look at today’s Gospel reading for a minute. The disciples have left Jerusalem shell-shocked and saddened at the death of Jesus, their hopes dashed.
Patti: Jesus draws near and simply walks with them, takes time for a real encounter, even though they are going the wrong way. Jesus doesn’t start with a solution, telling them to turn around, but instead walks with them in their doubt and pain.
Jacqueline: This is what Pope Francis calls ‘the art of encounter’, a hallmark of synodality; not staying at a distance but drawing near, even to those who are moving away. What does Jesus do in this encounter?
Patti: Not much. He listens, as Benedictines would say, ‘ with the ear of his heart’. He doesn’t offer a solution to their problems or dismiss what they are feeling.
Jacqueline: He lets them speak freely about their concerns and hopes, no matter how long it takes. Think about it! Jesus has just risen from the dead and what does he do? He listens to two people who are going the wrong way…….
Patti: For our dialogue homily, you may share what you want from any of the readings or we ask you to describe where you are on the road. Are you locked in a room, too frightened to venture forth, are you going the wrong way, or are you heading back to ‘Jerusalem’ to be a true disciple?
End of Shared Homily
Jacqueline: 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.
Patti: We gather here conscious of the gift each one of us is.
We are gifts of the universe unfolding for billions of years to produce a wondering and wonderful life-form with awareness, appreciation and creativity.
Jacqueline: 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.
Patti: We are gifts of the Great Mystery, permeating, penetrating and embracing everything that exists, and coming to human expression in us.
Jacqueline: We are gifts of human love, of commitment, of risk, of hope, of trust, of promise, of dreams of what could be.
Patti: We are gifts of all the joy that love can bring, of dreams come true, of Divine possibilities.
Jacqueline: We are earthen vessels, gifted with the power and impulses that drive the universe.
Patti: We are earthen vessels, charged with the Great Mystery at work everywhere in the vastness of the universe.
Jacqueline: We are gifts to be opened and shared, called to be co-creators of an evolving humanity, enablers of the “kingdom of God”.
Patti: We come to this gathering to affirm our commitment to expansion, to risk, to possibilities, to the gift we want to be, and can be for anyone whose lives we touch.
Jacqueline: We gather around bread and wine and the story of Jesus who lived the gift of human existence wholeheartedly.
Patti: 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 have led us to embrace life wholeheartedly.
Jacqueline: We eat and drink as a public sign of our readiness to BE the gifts we are, open to the Spirit of Life and Love moving in our hearts and minds.
Patti: To wherever the Spirit of Life and Love may lead us, we give our, Amen. [Adapted from Prayers for Progressive Christians by Michael Morwood]
Jacqueline: 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.”
Patti: 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 covenant of my lifeblood shed for you and for all.
And as often as you do this, You do this in memory of me.”
Jacqueline: 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.
All: (spoken not sung)
We remember how you loved us all your life.
And we still celebrate for you are with us here.
And we believe that we will see you. When you come, when you come again!
We remember! We celebrate! We Believe!
Patti: In the fullness of time bring us with all your saints from every tribe and language, from every people and nation to feast at the banquet prepared
from the foundation of the world.
All: For it is through him, with him and in him, now and forever.
Jacqueline: Now together, as one community, we offer to God,
our prayer, in the name of our brother, Jesus:
All: We come before You, Holy Spirit,
as we gather together in the name of Jesus.
With You to guide us, make Yourself at home in our hearts:
Teach us the way we must go and how we are to pursue it
Do not let us promote disorder.
Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path
Nor partiality influence our actions.
Let us find in You our unity in diversity
So that we may journey together to eternal life
And not stray from the way of truth and what is right. Amen
All this we ask of You, who are at work in every place and time, in the communion of our Creator and Liberator,
Forever and ever. Amen
Offering of Peace:
Jacqueline: Let us now offer one another some sign of peace and love.
Patti: Jesus shared companionship with people – with his disciples and with the wider circle of individuals who were drawn to him. Religious art tends to focus on the Last Supper. But many times in the Gospels Jesus is shown eating with ordinary people. In the Middle East [then and now] sharing the table with others creates a bond of kinship.
No doubt, the wine ran freely at these meals with Jesus, for Jesus’ enemies accused him of being a drunkard. Jesus was perceived as someone who made merry, and his meals were considered a bit uproarious. Probable, at these meals, being sad and being in Jesus’ presence was an existential impossibility. As you get into Jesus’ circle, the Joy breaks out.
Jacqueline: 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.
We invite everyone to partake of their communion.
Final Blessing: Beth
Already a blessing in the walking
already a blessing on the road
already a blessing drawing near
already a blessing in the listening
already a blessing in the burning hearts
already a blessing in the almost evening
already a blessing in the staying
already a blessing at the table
already a blessing in the bread
already a blessing in the breaking
already a blessing finally known
already a blessing give us eyes
already a blessing let us see. Jan Richardson