Weekly Sunday church services have been cancelled until further notice. You can hear a service every Sunday on The Lutheran Hour by tuning into 970 AM radio at 7:30 a.m. or 104.9 FM radio at 7:00 p.m. The Lutheran Hour’s services are also available on their website: https://www.lhm.org/
Third Sunday of Easter – April 18, 2021
Prayer of the Day – Holy and righteous God, you are the author of life, and you adopt us to be your children. Fill us with your words of life that we may live as witnesses to the resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
First Reading – Acts 3:12-19
Psalm – Psalm 4
Second Reading – 1 John 3:1-7
Gospel – Luke 24:36b-48
Sermon – In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The text for this Third Sunday of Easter is taken from Luke 24:36-48. (vs. 45) “Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.”
One of the exercises doctors ask their older patients to do is walk. Since many cannot do strenuous physical workouts anymore, walking is still something pretty much everyone can still do. Yesterday I walked on the beach at Sherwood Island and today at Lynn Deming Park here in town. Back in biblical times, walking was the major mode of transportation and people were good at it. Jesus understood that walking could be a holy practice. Walking is something he did a lot in his lifetime. Jesus could have chosen to ride. I am sure some of his followers would have gladly donated a nice horse to their teacher and mentor. But, Jesus preferred to feel the ground with his feet, to deal with the dust and the occasional stone in his sandal. It kept him connected to the earth. It slowed his pace, allowing him to see things like sparrows, a beggar beside a road, trees, a leper beside a fountain, plants, and perhaps even a glimpse of the holy itself.
If he had chosen to ride, the world around him would just be a blur. He challenges us to stroll through our lives, enjoy each moment of the journey, and notice the holy moving in, through, and around us at every moment. When the disciples were on the road to Emmaus, they may not have had cell phone apps to distract them from their walk, but they sure had a lot on their minds. Their best friend Jesus had been arrested, tried, and executed just days earlier. Maybe they just needed to get away, to think, to be somewhere that didn’t hold such painful memories. And so they walked.
A stranger came and walked alongside them, Luke tells us. They tell the stranger about Jesus, yet all the while, they don’t realize that the man they’re talking about is walking alongside of them. This is how our own cares and concerns can blind us to the presence of the holy in our midst. We move forward but we miss the scenery, the holy around us. When we walk, Jesus invites us to open our eyes and not look down but look up. We’re all on a journey, every single one of us. Some of us, like the disciples in our reading, are on journeys of despair. Some of us are journeying in joy. Some of us are journeying in confusion. Some in boredom. But no matter what your current journey, the holy walks with you, often in disguise; opening up the world to you and giving you new insights,, new ideas, and new ways of being and living in this world if only you’ll pay close attention.
Truth be told we also don’t understand anything God is trying to tell us. People are too busy for God. Even good Christians miss most of God’s message. The truth is we are always on the road to Emmaus. One day Jesus may be with us on the road teaching us compassion or teaching us patience. He may come in the form of a dying friend, teaching us about our own fragile time here on earth. There are times when a little light bulb goes on in our brain and we actually realize a profound truth from God. That’s what Jesus did for the disciples. He opened the Scriptures to them so that they understood.
One day the presence of the holy may come in a brilliant red cardinal or a yellow daffodil on a path reminding you to take a refreshing break. One day, the presence of the holy may come in one with whom you are in conflict, reminding you that you still have a lot to learn about yourself and others. However, Christ makes himself known to you; remember that he opened the minds of the disciples to spiritual understanding. They knew that they were on a journey. They knew that the Holy Spirit leads them and us on a journey to God where disappointed hopes are interrupted by the recognition that the holy walks by our side. And when we recognize this holy companionship on the way, we allow God to breathe life into our despair and hope upon our way. May our eyes be opened to the one who travels with us and that it’s good to “Be on the Road Again.” In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.