Home Worship Guide
April 26, 2020

Welcome

 

Call to Worship – “Where Do You See God?”

Hymn of Presence – Day of Arising

When we think of Jesus breaking bread with his disciples, ofter our thoughts go to the Last Supper he shared with them before his crucifixion. This hymn instead focuses on the meal he shared with two of them after his resurrection. The first verse tells the story of our scripture passage below and then the second invites us to consider our own walk with Christ. The third reminds us of Christ’s promise to be with us in communion and the final verse addresses the risen Christ and his inclusion of all creation. As each verse gradually widens our understanding of the implications of the resurrection, we, like the disciples, hear, taste, and see Christ’s promise to be with us always.

Day of arising, Christ on the roadway,
unknown companion walks with his own.
When they invite him, as fades the first day,
and bread is broken, Christ is made known.

When we are walking, doubtful and dreading,
blinded by sadness, slowness of heart,
yet Christ walks with us, ever awaiting our invitation:
Stay, do not part.

Lo, I am with you, Jesus has spoken.
This is Christ’s promise, this is Christ’s sign:
when the church gathers, when bread is broken,
there Christ is with us in bread and wine.

Christ, our companion, hope for the journey,
bread of compassion, open our eyes.
Grant us your vision, set all hearts burning
that all creation with you may rise.

Scripture Reading – Luke 24:13-35

13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called 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, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18 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?” 19 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, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over 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 these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 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. 24 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.” 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 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. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 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?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Meditation

Listentothe sermon using the player above, or click this summary to read the complete text. An archive of this and other sermons is found on the Yates sermon page.

The story we read today about the road to Emmaus is important to me because it deals with the question of how Easter gets to us.

Here, resurrection goes from being an abstract theological claim to an evening meal of broken bread at the kitchen table. Two otherwise unknown followers of Jesus are walking the seven-mile road from Jerusalem to Emmaus when suddenly the risen Christ joins them on their journey, but they don’t recognize him at first. It is a face like any other, all holiness and glory hidden in the face of a stranger. By the time they reach the end of their journey, in the breaking of bread and prayer, discouragement and despair have given way to hope and renewed faith. They bear witness to the other disciples about “what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.” (Luke 24:35)

They have come to recognize and share the resurrected life that Jesus brings. They are witnesses. A few verses later, in verse 48, that’s how the risen Christ identifies those who perceive and receive his resurrected life: “You are witnesses of these things.”

The resurrection has a way of penetrating deeply into the day-to-day, ordinary things of life. With Jesus’ resurrection, God overthrows all the human categories of who God is, where God’s life and energy are to be found, and how God works in this world. Jesus’ resurrection compels us to step outside our usual human understandings and enter into the world according to God.

The gospel stories of resurrection are embedded in the things of creation. They are stories of mealtime, of bread and prayer, of broiled fish, of touching and seeing, flesh and bones, hands and feet. The resurrected life Christ brings is also revealed in and through the created order.

But through much of the story today, the disciples continue to live, think and understand in the usual categories. The usual human way separates spirit from matter, divinity from humanity, heaven from earth. Whenever we think like that, we close off our capacity to recognize God’s presence in the world, in one another and in ourselves. We close our mind and deny ourselves the resurrected life for which Christ died.

We assume what we know about the world is all there is to know, and – worse – we assume it’ll never really change. So we close ourselves off by our fears, our sorrows and losses, our runaway thoughts and distractions, our attachments and addictions to things, people and even our beliefs. Sometimes it’s our unwillingness to allow or trust God to grow and change us. In binding ourselves up like that, we lose our ability to recognize and live in the sacred here and now.

That’s the very opposite of the resurrected life.

The resurrected life of Christ reveals that all creation and is shot through with the presence of God – holiness. Nothing can overcome what is given to us through resurrection: unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness, unconditional life. That is, I think, one of the most difficult things for us to see, believe and live into. We want to attach conditions to God that God doesn’t seem to want any part in.

That is the divine reality into which we are invited, not in the sweet by and by, but here and now.

Christ longs and desires to open our minds to understand the Scriptures, to understand all that has been written, spoken and revealed about him. That’s what Jesus did for these disciples and it’s what he does for us.

It’s not simply about achieving a higher intellectual understanding. That the disciples are witnesses does not mean they now have all the answers. It means they now have the life Jesus wants to give them. They are witnesses based not on what they know, but on who they are, how they live and their relationship with the risen Christ.

I don’t know exactly how this happens. I can’t give you a fool-proof set of instructions like a baker’s recipe. That would be like giving you a set of instructions on how to fall in love. I do know this: the resurrected life is not manufactured, acquired or achieved. The resurrected life is received. It happens when we risk unbinding ourselves from the usual ways of seeing, living and relating.

This is not a rejection of our life or this world. It is allowing God’s new world to open up and reveal something more. That’s what happened for the disciples in the broken bread. In their ordinary, troubled lives, in their shared meals and day’s labors, they saw and recognized Jesus. In seeing him, they also recognized something about themselves: holiness. Lives, homes and tables were made holy because the risen Jesus was with them. It happens for us too.

Think about a point in your life when you lost track of time. I don’t mean you forgot what time it was, but that you were so awake, so present, that you entered a new world. Think about a time when life seemed more real than it ever had and you touched or tasted life in a way never before. Recall a moment when your heart opened, softened, and you knew you were somehow different. Remember that day when you sensed something new was being offered you; possibilities that you did not create for yourself. They just opened up. Reflect on that moment when you realized that you were ok and could start to live again. Those are the moments when Christ opens our minds to understand. They are moments of awe and wonder that leave us in sacred silence. Sometimes they even fill our eyes with tears, not from sorrow or pain, but the water of new life. They are the moments in which we say, “I never want this to end. I don’t want to leave ever again.”

Jesus Christ, fully alive and risen, is calling us to see and recognize him, to join him, and to receive new life, our resurrected life. This is the authentic person we long to become, the one that we already are and the one we are becoming in him.

It is much too easy to worship, hear the gospel, and then return to life as usual, life as we already know it. Don’t let that happen. Your life is too important to let that happen. Carry the gospel with you over the next week. Let it open your eyes, your heart and your mind to the life Christ offers you. Let it be the voice of Christ opening your mind to understand.

“You are witnesses of these things,” he says to us.

Sit with it. Pray it. Wrestle with it. Tell it. Live it. Become it. On walks, at mealtime, every time and everywhere, the resurrected life is yours. You are witnesses.

 

Hymn of Acceptance – For Everyone Born

For everyone born, a place at the table,
for everyone born, clean water and bread,
a shelter, a space, a safe place for growing,
for everyone born, a star overhead,

and God will delight when we are creators
of justice and joy, compassion and peace:
yes, God will delight when we are creators
of justice, justice and joy!

For young and for old, a place at the table,
a voice to be heard, a part in the song,
the hands of a child in hands that are wrinkled,
for young and for old, the right to belong,

and God will delight when we are creators
of justice and joy, compassion and peace:
yes, God will delight when we are creators
of justice, justice and joy!

For just and unjust, a place at the table,
abuser, abused, with need to forgive,
in anger, in hurt, a mindset of mercy,
for just and unjust, a new way to live,

and God will delight when we are creators
of justice and joy, compassion and peace:
yes, God will delight when we are creators
of justice, justice and joy!

For everyone born, a place at the table,
to live without fear, and simply to be,
to work, to speak out, to witness and worship,
for everyone born, the right to be free,

and God will delight when we are creators
of justice and joy, compassion and peace:
yes, God will delight when we are creators
of justice, justice and joy!

Response Through Giving

Nyssa Collins – Amazing Grace w/ I could Sing of Your Love Forever

We encourage you to give your offerings online through Pushpay here, through the Yates app, or by mail (2819 Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC, 27707). We are growing into new ways to be the church together and your giving allows us to keep being the church, even in the absence of our physical presence.

Benediction and Response (two options)

The disciples don’t recognize Jesus until he breaks bread. Perhaps the disciples remember the last time someone, Jesus, broke bread for them and they recall the promise they made during that meal not to abandon him. Jesus, of course, doesn’t bring it up. He doesn’t shame the disciples for their betrayal. He offers the simplest form of humble forgiveness – just moving on; Water under the bridge. It is interesting that the disciples don’t fully recognize Jesus in v. 27, when he directly teaches them with the whole (at the time) Bible! Instead, they only recognize him in the act of breaking bread and the act of simple, unspoken forgiveness. As a “response” to our time of worship today, below are a couple of benediction/response options for you to do right now or sometime this week; They are ways to slow down and notice the simple ways God is present to us.

1) Experiential Walk

As we respond to worship today, one option is to take a walk. This can be along a trail or in your neighborhood, in solitude or with others. However and wherever you choose to walk, be sure to be mindful and present. Leave your phone and other distractions behind. As you walk, simply be aware of the world around you. Use this time to look for God in nature, in the people you may encounter, and in unexpected places. Here are a few questions you might think about or discuss with those you walk with:

    • In reflecting on the past, when was God with me and I didn’t realize it until later?
    • How might God be showing up in my life right now?
    • How can I be more intentional about slowing down and noticing God’s presence?

 

2) Baking “Bread”

Another response option is baking! A sample recipe, that was successfully followed by a group of young children this very week, is provided below for some cookies. Making our own food forces us to slow down and appreciate something we often take for granted or consume as efficiently and thoughtlessly as possible; It prevents us from multi-tasking and helps us focus. Our Anglican friends have a full liturgy on baking in this way, but for now maybe this simple prompt will be helpful for you to think through as you make some cookies:

          • How is God shaping my life at the moment?
          • What pressures am I under and how might God use this for good? “Be still and know that I am God”
          • Is the rhythm of my life healthy and life-bringing?

Chocolate Chip Cookies!

This recipe was adapted to be done by children with little to no adult supervision. We (Danny and Johanna) share a backyard with our neighbors and they are the only contact our kids have with the “outside” world. The recipe is presented the way the kids received it. Use this recipe as you see fit, especially the “go play” part.

Ingredients:

1 stick butter

1 cup bread flour

big pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

[Marley] Melt butter in microwave

[Kendall] in bowl – mix 1 cup bread flour, big pinch of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon 

baking soda

[Marley] in mixer – mix melted butter, 2  tablespoons white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar on low for a few seconds then high for a few minutes until blended and creamy

[Kendall] in another bowl – mix together 1 egg, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

[Ruby and Taylor] add bowl of egg, milk, vanilla extract to mixer and mix on low

[Marley] add bowl of flour, salt, baking soda to mixer and mix on low

[Ruby and Taylor] add 1 cup of chocolate chips to mixer and mix on low until combined

Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour – go play!

[Marley] Preheat oven to 375

[Everyone] Shape dough into pingpong ball sized balls and place on parchment paper lined trays

[Marley] place trays in heated oven for 15 minutes

[Danny] rotate trays halfway through baking, remove when done

 

Blessings to you on this day of worship!

Click here to visit the worship experience from March 15, 2020.

Click here to visit the worship experience from March 22, 2020.

Click here to visit the worship experience from March 29, 2020.

Click here to visit the worship experience from April 5, 2020.

Click here to visit the worship experience from April 12, 2020.

Click here to visit the worship experience from last week, April 19, 2020.