April 23, 2023 - 3rd Sunday of Easter

For the week of April 23-29 – 3rd Sunday of Easter

Morning Prayer Merciful God, even as we remember how You have heard us in the past, we come to You again in our need, carrying burdens too large to bear. And yet, even in our need, we praise You. We praise You because we remember all You have done in the past and know that You will continue to love us and our community into flourishing. As we lay our burdens at Your feet, transform the outpouring of our praise into love for all of our neighbors, so that we may grow more like You every day. Amen. (Discipleship ministries)

Hymn #364 Because He Lives

1   God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus; He came to love, heal, and forgive;

     He lived and died to buy my pardon, an empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.

Refrain:  Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; because He lives, all fear is gone; 

Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.

2   How sweet to hold a newborn baby, and feel the pride and joy he gives;

     But greater still the calm assurance, this child can face uncertain days because He lives.

3   And then one day I’ll cross the river; I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;

     And then as death gives way to victory, I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He reigns.

Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19

116:1 I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications.

116:2 Because He inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.

116:3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.

116:4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I pray, save my life!"

116:12 What shall I return to the LORD for all His bounty to me?

116:13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,

116:14 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people.

116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His faithful ones.

116:16 O LORD, I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the child of Your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.

116:17 I will offer to You a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the LORD.

116:18 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people,

116:19 in the courts of the house of the LORD, in Your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!

Children’s message 1 Peter 1:21-22

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.

Children’s Message 

It’s weeks after Easter and we are still talking about Jesus and what happened on that day. And we should be. It is the very core of who we say Jesus is. We should always be talking about Jesus’ resurrection. It is that important.

Peter tells us that our faith and hope are in God. We have made ourselves pure by obeying the truth. I wonder how many ways we can describe pure. Usually we think of not being mixed with something, free from anything that may dirty, change, or lower the quality. It can also mean free from sin or the guilt of sin.

According to Peter, we have made ourselves pure by obeying God’s truth, and being pure, we can always clean ourselves up because of God’s grace when we aren’t free from sin and the guilt of sin. We can keep coming back to this state of pure with God because of God’s love and grace. God’s love and grace covers our sins and erases our wrongs in God’s eyes.

God desires us to be in this state so we can love each other deeply from our hearts. This is how we can show the world God’s love because we are loved.

Prayers of Intercession:  Thank You, Lord, for hearing our prayers for those dear to our hearts.  We now pray as You have taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us, not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen. 

Offering spotlight: The United Methodist Church celebrates the contributions and ministries of our native indigenous peoples in this country, while recognizing that many of them live in poverty.  Funds placed in the special envelopes support scholarships for Native Americans to attend UM theological schools.  The funds also support outreach to native communities, spreading the Gospel.

Offering prayer: Creator of all we know and all we don’t know, as we bring our gifts this day, we ask You to help us trust You more. Forgive us when we entertain the thought that our future lies in bank balances and the accumulation of stuff. Remind us as Peter reminded the early followers that through Jesus, we “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” (1:21). May our lives reflect that trust to others. In the powerful name of Jesus, we pray. Amen. (1 Peter 1:17-23) (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn: #530 Are Ye Able

  1. "Are ye able," said the Master, "to be crucified with me?"
    "Yea," the sturdy dreamers answered, "to the death we follow thee."

Refrain:  Lord, we are able. Our spirits are thine. Remold them, make us, like thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be a beacon to God, to love, and loyalty.

  1. Are ye able to remember, when a thief lifts up his eyes,
    that his pardoned soul is worthy of a place in paradise? (Refrain)
  2. Are ye able when the shadows close around you with the sod,
    to believe that spirit triumphs, to commend your soul to God? (Refrain)
  3. Are ye able? Still the Master whispers down eternity,
    and heroic spirits answer, now as then in Galilee. (Refrain)

Scripture 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 recognizing 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 recognized 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.

Message  The Wall to Emmaus             Pastor Becky Cuddeback

These two disciples have just witnessed what they believe is the end.

Their teacher is dead. All their hopes, dreams, ideations of who Jesus was and what He was to do. Their vision of the Kingdom of God is left in pieces.

You understand what they are feeling. We have experienced this also. Things are not turning out the way they thought and now they have lost someone dear to them. They have lost their center, nothing is right and nothing makes sense.

We have had these experiences, we can relate to them. We’ve experienced the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a broken relationship. We have all experienced the end of a dream in a multitude of ways. We have had all our plans not lead us to the expected destination.

Of all the New Testament figures we encounter, these two are the most relatable to us. They help tell our story and lead us to hope.

Let’s go back to the two – what is it they decide to do in the face of this disappointment? They leave, physically leave the place that holds all the memories. They left behind the brokenness and headed off for Emmaus. They couldn’t be healed where they were; they wanted to be healed, so they went looking for it. On the way to their healing, they encounter Jesus. Yet, they don’t recognize it is Jesus. But as they walk together, Jesus puts the events of the last few days into perspective. He gives them a lens to understand it and finally in their meal together, they recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread. They recognize Him in what we do at The Table. We bless, break, offer, and take bread – remembering Jesus and being remembered to Jesus and each other, so we are reconnected and healed.

In this healing, the two receive the narrative they need to make sense of it all and now they can go back to Jerusalem and have what they know: Jesus is ALIVE!! They go back to share this and they are affirmed by the disciples still in Jerusalem.

They finish where they started, yet – now they are healed, reignited, and transformed. This can only happen because of their encounter with Jesus.

Their journey was quick and then we don’t hear of these disciples again. What they leave with us is the way to healing. Our details differ from theirs and each of ours differ from each other, but the result is the same. Once we have encountered our Risen Savior, we too are healed and our vision is transformed. This allows us to face the brokenness with the message of the Resurrection. Jesus is alive and that makes all the difference because it solidifies our hope and bathes us in God’s grace.

Hymn: #297 Beneath the Cross of Jesus

  1. Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
    the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
    a home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
    from the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.
  2. Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
    the very dying form of One who suffered there for me;
    and from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess:
    the wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.
  3. I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
    I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
    content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss,
    my sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

Go into your week with the blessings of The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.