Sunday, 4 May 2014

Can't Make it to church? - May 4

Today's Gosepl reading is the sort of thing I think we'd all want to experience.

For many of us the experience of meeting with Jesus in one of those 'divine appointments' is something consigned to past recollections and as time goes on we perhaps begin to ask ourselves, "Did it really happen?'

Others will treasure that encounter and it will be the thing that keeps them going on whilst more still will be waiting and hoping for the day.

Imagine it, you're walking along and you suddenly find yourself caught up by JK Rowlings, but you don't know it's her. There you are talking about the the latest book, the crowds outside the cinema and the characters plots and the like. They explain how the characters and plots all work together for one final conflict and pone triumphant outcome and then you realise who it is you're talking too. What do you do?

Ask for an autograph?
Take a selfie with them?
Call your mates on your cell and tell them who you're with?

Now imagine it's the star footballer from your team - or up the ante sill and make it the Queen or the leader of the government.

We all have someone we'd love to meet and yet having met them would be one of those, 'You'll never guess who I had in the back of my cab?' moments. A great story for the pub and with friends around the dinner table - but what change does the encounter bring?

Today's is one of epic change - of understanding - of encounter with the living, resurrected, man who is Jesus, the Christ. You can't meet with Jesus and be left unchanged, unmoved or uninformed. In our story the word of God is made obvious and clear by the Word of God and the bread of life, in which He is present for us in physical form, confirms His love and our salvation - and that can be our experience today. Perhaps not walking along a road, but the opportunity is your for we are told that those who seek will find the truth and He, Jesus, is the truth about God and us.

May you meet with Him today - be touched by His word and filled by His presence - may he make Himself know in your lives (again or for the first time) wherever and whoever you are.

The Collect
Risen Christ,
you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope:
strengthen us to proclaim your risen life and fill us with your peace,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Acts 2.14a, 36-41
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’

 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.’ And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ So those who welcomed his message were baptised, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

Psalm 116.1-3,10-17
I love the Lord, for he has heard the voice of my supplication;   because he inclined his ear to me on the day I called to him.  The snares of death encompassed me; the pains of hell took hold of me; by grief and sorrow was I held. Then I called upon the name of the Lord:  ‘O Lord, I beg you, deliver my soul.’

How shall I repay the Lord for all the benefits he has given to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation  and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.
O Lord, I am your servant, your servant, the child of your handmaid; you have freed me from my bonds.
I will offer to you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of the Lord.
I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the Lord, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.

1 Peter 1.17-23
If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.

Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

Luke 24.13-35
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognising him. And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed 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 they did not see him.’ Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

A rather super little cartoon

Post Communion
Living God,
your Son made himself known to his disciples
in the breaking of bread:
open the eyes of our faith,
that we may see him in all his redeeming work;
who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

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