Third Sunday in Easter- Deacon Gill- April 30, 2017

Easter 3

April 30, 2017

Sometimes we learn our personal history and about the people who helped form it, by sitting around talking and listening to family and friends. My grandparents all lived very close to us when I was a child and I spent many hours in their company. I well remember times (yes before we had a television) when we would all get together. I loved it when my grandfather would tell us stories. When he wasn’t working in the bank he was a time keeper for land speed records on the sands in Wales and he would regale us with all the excitement of those days.

In the telling and hearing of our stories we are entertained, and we gain an awareness of where we have come from, who we are, and who we are supposed to become. We receive clues about where we fit into our community and society in general. Our elders recited our history for us in order to pass along what they had learned, from their elders and from their own experiences. Some stories puzzle us; some stories frighten us. And of course there was the big fish that got away story just to add excitement.

Today we hear another resurrection story. Here we have a prime example of people being immersed in their own thoughts and reminiscences and not seeing the bigger picture. We have two of Jesus’ followers returning to Emmaus.  We know that the subject of Jesus’ death dominated their conversation and that they were deeply discouraged and dismayed. They had heard stories told that he would be crucified and would rise again. But in their grief at the events they had forgotten the ending that had been foretold and were locked in the first part of the story. The men were loosing hope.

And as they walked along, they were joined by a stranger. That was nothing out of the ordinary. Strangers often attached themselves to groups; safety in numbers and all that. The stranger joined in their conversation. They do not recognize Jesus even when he was talking and walking with them. He asked what they were talking about. Now this did surprise the two men. If this man had been in Jerusalem how come he didn’t know what they were talking about? It was on everyone’s lips…it was the talk of the town.

An unrecognized Jesus played straight man. He asked the appropriate questions and the two disciples unloaded the deep burden of their hearts. They told him what had happened during the last few days and how the hopes and dreams of many had been dashed. “We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” We had hoped….But he was crucified.

They were hurting. For years they had listened and followed a man and now their dreams were shattered. And when you are hurting so badly and are in so much pain you really do not listen to your heart properly. Your hopes and dreams lay unfulfilled. Nothing hurts quite so much as shattered hopes.

This resurrection story is for all of us, the rank and file followers of Jesus Christ. A story that will guide us in the knowledge that we are not alone, and gives comfort that God walks with us always.  When we are hurting badly we are not alone. It also gives us a clue to the sort of response we ought to make. It gives us clues as to how and when the hidden Christ is revealed to us. It gives us clues to the mystery. When Jesus was walking beside them they were unaware of his presence. They only came to recognize his presence in the breaking of the bread. And once their eyes were opened and they thought they could hold on to his presence, in an instant he vanished from their sight.

In 2000 years not much has changed. We like the two disciples are left to ponder and reflect unexpected encounters with God along the road. And you know the road to Emmaus can be any place where we go to escape from any of our problems. Maybe for you it is at the movies or a party. Maybe you go to bed. Maybe you go out to the shops for shopping therapy. Maybe it is by coming to church. Emmaus is wherever we go to make ourselves forget. Have we known Jesus walking with us at these times? How many of us may say “I have never been aware of God with me? Or God has always been silent to me. How many of us only recognize his presence in the breaking of the bread? “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 recognized him.”

In our times of greatest pain…in our walk to Emmaus…Jesus walks with us patiently waiting for us to open our eyes to see and hear him. It is as our collect today says “Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work.

Maybe you come to church to experience God in the liturgy or sacred space because you think he only lives here. God is with us all the time, transforming us. Maybe you only look for God during times of pain. However he is with us also in times of happiness. So when might we know how is God revealed to us? How do we know when God has walked with us or is talking to us? We can get some clues when it may happen from today’s passage.

The 2 men were walking on the Road to Emmaus. Often when we are out walking or exercising at the gym this can be a time of solitude and a time when we can meditate. We are alone. Jesus may reveal himself to you.

The two men were talking and discussing the events that had been taking place. Sitting with your family and friends sharing your stories.  Jesus may reveal himself to you.

They were listening to each other and then to the stranger who joined them. Listen to others and maybe their message is for you. Jesus may reveal himself to you.

The two men were friends. We cannot exist alone. We need the company of friends and family and the interaction with others. We may make new and deeper friendships by taking part in a ministry here at the church. During such times Jesus may reveal himself to you.

They invited him to stay with them as it was nearly evening. Jesus reveals himself in our hospitality to strangers.

They walked along a road to another village. In the creation all around us Jesus reveals himself.  In nature, in the sunrise, in a sunset, in the trees and flowers, in a walk at the beach, in the sounds of birds, in the warning car horn. He is with us. Do we recognize him and give thanks for his presence? Do we talk to him wherever we are…..even outside the church building?

When Jesus was walking beside the two men they were unaware of his presence. Just as we may not be aware of his daily presence with us. Sometimes it is only on reflection that we say “Wow God was with me then.”

Their eyes were opened when he took bread, gave thanks and broke it. They recognized him in prayer. They recognized then who the stranger was and as they recognized him he disappeared. He vanished just as they knew who he was. In the main we know but have no evidence. Because we do not recognize him it does not mean that he is not present.

The risen Lord IS with us on our journey.

He IS with us during the good periods of life…..when we celebrate.

He IS with us in our darkest moments…..when we grieve.

He is with us at times when we need solace and when we need strength. We need to open our eyes to see and recognize that he is with us. We need to feel and know the transforming power of God’s love.  Be assured we are not alone as God walks with us on the road.

Service Schedule

Sunday Services
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist, Rite I
9:15 a.m. Christian Formation
10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist, Rite II

Weekday Services
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist


St. Paul's Episcopal Church
5373 Franz Rd
Katy, Texas 77493
(281) 391-2785

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