26th April - Order of Service for Online Streaming

Welcome

We need your presence on the long road, Lord.

The road between fear and hope,

the road between the place where all is lost

and the place of resurrection.

Like the disciples walking the road to Emmaus,

we are in need of your company!

Jesus, stand among us, in your risen power,

let this time of worship, be a hallowed hour.

 

HYMN  Come, now is the time to worship

 

Briefing

  • Prayer Meeting last tuesday - third Tuesday of month

  • Baptissimo now monthly - posted next week

 

Talk

It is great to see how people are excelling in a time of crisis.  We have a 99 year old doing sponsored walks and raising millions, people doing sponsored cycles on exercise bikes in their back gardens, and every musician ever known singing from their home.  We are even going to close our worship today with one such song, sung by Rend Collective from their living room.

 

It is important that we show our gratitude for these things.  We may go out and clap at 8pm on a Thursday but, as we have seen, there are so many deserving of our thanks.  IsingWorship are still allowing us to use their music royalty free, as are Rend Collective.  This shows Christian Agape Love, as we talked about last Sunday.

We are fortunate that the virus has not decimated Ilkley as it has hit Wuhan, London or New York.  Of course we still feel the effects of isolation, but we are grateful that our problems may be minimal compared to others.  Our summer holiday plans may be in tatters, whether we had planned a cruise or a week in Blackpool, but we will cope.

 

Many Christian events have fallen by the wayside.  Greenbelt, the Christian music festival, has been canceled, as has this year’s Keswick Convention.

 

So, if you haven’t got a summer holiday planned that you can actually attend, why not commit yourself to a virtual holiday experience in the Lake District that won’t cost you a penny!  Let’s hear more….

 

FILM

 

Last week our sermon was on the subject of “Hope” - how appropriate that the Keswick Convention launch their virtual convention with their revised theme of “Hope” as well.  Please put the dates in your calendar and let us enjoy the virtual fellowship, worship and learning from this splendid Christian resource.

 

Let us Pray

 

Lord, we are not people of fear: 

we are people of courage. 

We are not people who protect our own safety: 

we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety. 

We are not people of greed: 

we are people of generosity. 

We are your people God, 

giving and loving, 

wherever we are, 

whatever it costs 

For as long as it takes 

wherever you call us.  AMEN


 

HYMN  As the deer pants for the water

 

Reading

  • Luke 24:13-35

 

Sermon

There are some wonderful names in our liturgical year.  We have Advent and Christmas, we have Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and of course Easter Sunday.  This week, I’m afraid, in the lectionary, it is a rather mundane “Easter 3”.  And yet the story behind it - the road to Emmaus - is one of my favourite passages in scripture.

 

During this virus lockdown, people have been prevented from enjoying Gardens or Parks, or maybe lying on the beach at Scarborough or Bridlington.  Picture this scene, post lockdown. 

 

A man and his little grandson were out walking down the beach one afternoon. They saw a crowd of people gathered around a man who had been overcome by too many hours of sun and was suffering from heatstroke. The grandfather was trying to explain this to the boy. The little fellow looked up at his grandfather and said, "Grandpa, I hope you never suffer from a sunset."

 

We have gathered today to celebrate the good news that even though we are facing so many sunsets there is always a sunrise coming at the end of them.

 

Easter 3 may not have the glorious ring of Good Friday, but it gently tells the story of Jesus and two of his followers on the road to Emmaus. 

 

As we find ourselves in lockdown, it really affects us in two ways.  Either we are fairly comfortable in semi-isolation, or we are going stir crazy as a result of lack of contact.  It is a situation of great contrast, just as were the polar opposite experiences of those that were a part of the biblical resurrection experience. Those followers of Jesus, and all who loved him, faced an unwanted sunset on that fateful Friday. To them, the sun had gone down forever on all their hopes and dreams.

 

Jesus captured their imaginations, but the Roman soldiers captured him.

 

Jesus gained their love and devotion, but the forces of hatred divided them.

 

Jesus inspired the best in them, but now they have experienced the worst.

 

Jesus had apparently claimed a victory, but now they have seen his utter defeat.

 

Jesus had stood for the kingdom of God, but the power of Rome was standing over him.

 

Jesus had promised a better life, but is now the victim of a bitter death.

 

We have probably all experienced highs and lows in our lives.  Have we often felt that the sunsets have far outweighed the sunrises?   I wonder if I am speaking to someone today who has travelled a long and lonely road? If so, then Easter speaks to you.

 

Let us return to our scripture passage.  Easter day is over, and we have two loyal followers of Jesus walking down the road to Emmaus, a little village about six miles outside of Jerusalem. Our scripture video shows two males, but in truth we do not know this is true.  It could have been Cleopas and his wife.  Regardless, they were trudging home defeated, and full of shame and disappointment. It was getting late, and the setting sun reminded them of the sinking feeling they had on the inside. 

 

Then, as they walked along, a stranger joined them. He asked what they had been discussing. They stopped dead in their tracks, looked at each other and then stared at him as if he had said the most stupid thing ever.  Of course, we now know that President Trump suggesting disinfectant injections has now surpassed that!

 

Anyway, they asked the stranger, very sarcastically, if he was the only person who did not know what had been going on for the last few days?   He asked them what they were talking about. The travelers replied that they were talking about Jesus of Nazareth, a mighty prophet and how he had been put to death. Then they said, "But we had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel."

 

"... we had hoped ..." What a note of tragedy in those words. But it is out of that great tragedy that God brought history's greatest triumph.

 

Those two followers went on to relate how they had heard some of the women had found an empty tomb, and others had gone to the tomb, but did not see him. And then the stranger says, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"

 

This is the story of Easter, the glory of Easter, which in turn is the glory of the New Testament, the glory of Christian faith, the glory of the Christian church. This is why we tuned into our streamed worship on Easter Sunday to celebrate the good news of the resurrection, because God stepped into history and said to the forces of evil, "That is enough. I'll have the last word on this."

 

So, as we celebrate the humble Easter 3 today, and we think about the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus, would you also channel your heart and mind to be filled with these things?

 

The resurrection is a transformation which takes place in our lives, and really hits us at communion time. The resurrection changes everything. That stranger walked with them all the way home, and they invited him to come and stay with them. They sat down at the table for a meal together, as we too will do shortly. 

 

He blessed the bread and broke it. Then he gave it to them. There was something strangely familiar in all of that. And then Luke writes, "Their eyes were opened and they recognized him." Suddenly everything was different. The entire situation was transformed. Nothing would ever be the same again.

 

PAUSE

 

This is the Garden tomb in Jerusalem, where many believe that Jesus lay prior to the resurrection.  Just 10 months ago, four of us from Ilkley visited the Garden Tomb on our pilgrimage.  

 

The grounds were beautiful, the flowers were in full bloom, but this cold, dark, stark interior is what a tomb really looked like.  There is nothing romantic in this image.  Just a slab of stone on which to lay the body of the messiah.  

 

Instead of lifting Jesus high up on a throne, they put him down in the garden tomb. Those disciples had followed Jesus from up in Galilee all the way down to Jerusalem - down the streets and up to the temple - down in the garden and up to the cross - from upper room to garden tomb. And that was the end of that, they thought.  It wasn’t so much Good Friday, more “Goodbye”.

 

Pontius Pilate, the High Priest and all the members of the Sanhedrin sighed with relief and said, "Goodbye Jesus!" And all His followers hung their heads and sadly said, "Goodbye Jesus." But then came the resurrection, and Jesus went from the garden tomb, via Emmaus, back to the upper room.

 

2000 years ago, one man changed everything.  Nothing has ever been the same. From that moment on, all those who followed Jesus lived in the power of his resurrection. A transformation took place in their lives.

 

It takes place in our living. Our living is different because we are no longer the same. We are no longer living under the power of sin and death and darkness. We don’t fear coronavirus - we just don’t hide in the darkness.  We live now in the light of God's love, in the dawn of a new day. Because of that, the meaning of our lives has been changed, and has been transformed.  Regardless of what might happen to us we can have the joy of knowing the victory has been won.

 

Then something else.

 

PAUSE - Believe

 

The resurrection is something which grips our thinking. It is more than something we merely believe. It is a conviction which takes hold of us. After the risen Christ had revealed himself to those two followers he vanished from their sight. However, they knew they had been in his presence. Their thinking was gripped by that conviction.

 

When our thinking has been gripped by that conviction, then we can face anything that comes along. When our hearts burn within us with that conviction then we know we can handle all of life.

 

PAUSE - living our faith

 

The resurrection is a witness which inspires our sharing. It is more than a change in us, more than just a conviction. It is something we also live. It is a witness we share. Luke tells us that same hour those two followers left Emmaus and went back to Jerusalem. They went to the upper room and found the disciples. They shared what they had experienced that day. It was something they could not contain within themselves.

 

The early church was the result of the resurrection. Those disciples were not looking for some new organization to join - some club to which they could belong. The church was the result of their witness. The resurrection was a story they had to tell - a conviction they had to announce - a witness they had to share.

 

Our gathering here, whether it is in a church building or in shared streamed worship, is a witness to the power of the resurrection. Our words of comfort and hope are a witness to the power of the resurrection.

 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ has made Christians out of us and our lives are a witness to the power of it. And this power continues to sustain our living. It gives us hope for today and all the tomorrows which await us.

 

There are lots of famous epitaphs.  On my tombstone I’d quite like "I'll see you in the morning."  Why?  Because it sounds a lot like Jesus when he promised, "I am with you always."

 

He stands among us even now and promises to meet us on the roads we travel - with us on every journey - when the sun is shining brightly - when the skies are cloudy,  For in the midst of all our sunsets he promises us a sunrise - "I'll see you in the morning."

 

In Ephesians 2, verse 8, Paul says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”   From this we learn that God provides us with faith. So let us pray for God to strengthen our faith.

 

Prayer

Father, even the disciples that walked with Jesus needed to strengthen their faith. Jesus told them if their faith was only the size of a mustard seed, they could uproot trees and crumble mountains. Lord, I need more faith like the disciples. Increase my faith and make me a mover of mountains. Grow my belief in You alone so that I would be strong in the Lord and ready to battle against the doubts planted by the enemy. Lord, increase my faith, I pray!  AMEN

 

HYMN  I surrender all

 

Communion

INVITATION TO THE LORD’S TABLE 

Friends, this is the joyful feast of the people of God! They will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at a table in the kingdom of God. 

 

According to Luke, when our risen Lord was at table with his disciples, he took the bread, and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him. This is the Lord’s table. Our Saviour invites those who trust him to share the feast which he has prepared. 

 

GREAT THANKSGIVING 

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. 

 

It is truly right and our greatest joy to give you thanks and praise, eternal God, our creator. You have given us life and second birth in your Spirit. Once we were no people, but now we are your people. 

 

You claimed Israel as your chosen nation and raised up the church as a witness to the resurrection, breathing into it your life and power. From worlds apart, you gathered us together. When we go astray, you welcome us home. Always, your love has been steadfast. 

 

Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with the choirs of heaven and with all the faithful of every time and place who forever sing to the glory of your name: 

 

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. 

 

In love with you and in compassion for all, Jesus healed and taught, challenged and comforted, welcomed and saved. He formed a community, promising to be with his disciples wherever two or three were gathered, and sending them on his mission of hope and healing in the world. Jesus trusted his life to you, and went freely to his death, so the world might be set free from suffering and sin.  You raised him from death and raise us also to live a new life with him, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, you send us out to make disciples as he commanded. 

 

Remembering all your mighty and merciful acts, we take this bread and this wine from the gifts you have given us and celebrate with joy the redemption won for us in Jesus Christ. 

 

Accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving as a living and holy offering of ourselves, that our lives may proclaim the One crucified and risen. Great is the mystery of faith. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. 

 

Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these your gifts of bread and wine, that the bread we break and the cup we bless may be our never-ending memory of the body and blood of Christ. By your Spirit unite us with the living Christ and with all who are baptised in his name, that we may be one in ministry in every place. This bread symbolises Christ’s body for us, sending us out to be the body of Christ in the world. 

 

O God, today you have called us together to be your church. Unite us now at your table, your table, and in one loaf and a simple cup, make us one in Christ Jesus. Let your Spirit empower the life we share and ignite our witness in the world. With all who have gone before us, keep us faithful to the gospel teachings and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Give us strength to serve you until the promised day of the resurrection, when with the redeemed of all the ages we will feast with you at your table in glory. Through Christ, all glory and honour are yours, almighty God, with the Holy Spirit in the holy church, now and forever. Amen. 

 

THE LORD’S PRAYER 

As Christ our Saviour taught us, let us pray together: 

Our Father…….. 

 

BREAKING OF THE BREAD 

The Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, took bread, and after giving thanks to God, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat. This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. 

In the same way he took the cup, saying: This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me. Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the saving death of the risen Lord, until he comes. 

 

Let us share the feast.  We take the bread and eat it as we receive it, for this is the body of Christ, given for you…

 

PAUSE


We now come to the cup of the new covenant.  We share and hold our cups, so that we can drink together, as disciples of Christ in fellowship with one another.

 

Humbly You came, to the earth You created

All for love's sake became poor…  AMEN

 

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION 

Gracious God, may we who have received this meal live in the unity of your Holy Spirit, that we may show forth your gifts to all the world. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 

 

HYMN  Dear Lord and Father of mankind

 

Prayers of Intercession

Almighty God, we know that everything is in Your sovereign control. We ask that You keep this new coronavirus from continuing to spread. Give government officials the ability to safely handle people arriving from other countries. Help people decide to stay home instead of traveling or going out needlessly. Holy Spirit, remind people to wash their hands properly. And while it may be heartbreaking, comfort families as they decide to keep their distance from elderly or other high-risk family members.

 

Jesus, during Your ministry on Earth You showed Your power and caring by healing people of all ages and stations of life from physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. Be present now to people who need Your loving touch because of this pandemic. May they feel Your power of healing through the care of doctors and nurses.

Take away the fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation from people receiving treatment or under quarantine. Give them a sense of purpose in pursuing health and protecting others from exposure to the disease. Protect their families and friends and bring peace to all who love them. 

 

x

 

Lord, we are so grateful for all the people who continue to work each day so that people are able to eat. We ask that You bless and protect them as they serve. Give them grace to handle disgruntled customers during supplies shortages. Keep their bodies healthy as they unload and stock boxes of supplies. Keep their cars and trucks running smoothly as they deliver needed supplies and food people have ordered online. And please protect them all from contracting the new coronavirus.

x

 

Lord, we pray in the name of Jesus, knowing that all our prayers are heard.  May they be answered in the most appropriate way.  AMEN.


 

HYMN  Build your Kingdom here

 

Blessing

Go forth now from worship and bear witness to Christ, who is gloriously risen from the dead. As he appeared beside his followers on the road to Emmaus, may his presence be with you on your journey.  You have faith.  Go in peace, and with hope. AMEN


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