3rd Sunday of Easter Worship

The third Sunday of Easter – 26th April 2020

The Preparation

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Great is the Lord and worthy of all praise.
Amen!
Praise and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour,
power and might, be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.

Hymn of Praise – Now the green blade rises

Words: John M. C. Crum.

The words are printed below.

By clicking on this link, you will hear a recording from Songs of Praise:

If you wish to hear only the music, click on this link:

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love Whom we had slain,
Thinking that He’d never wake to life again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Up He sprang at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Up from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are saddened, grieving or in pain,
By Your touch You call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Now the green blade rises – Words: John M. C. Crum.

As God who called you is holy,
be holy yourselves in all your conduct.
Spirit of God, search our hearts.

In silence we remember our need for God’s forgiveness.

Silence

Let us confess our sins to God.

God of mercy, we have sinned against you and against others.
We have sinned in what we have done,
and in what we have failed to do.
We are truly sorry.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for our sins,

forgive us all that is past and raise us to newness of life. Amen.

Almighty God, who pardons all who truly repent,
forgive our sins, strengthen us by the Holy Spirit,
and keep us in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.  Amen.

Collect

Jesus, we believe you;
all we heard is true.
You break the bread, we recognise you,
you are the fire that burns within us;
use us to light the world. 
Hear this prayer for your love’s sake.  Amen

The Ministry of the Word

A reading from Acts 2:14, 36-41


(A summary of the preaching and other activities of the early Christian community on Jerusalem)

Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this.

“So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!”

Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away —all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”

Those who believed what Peter said were baptised and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.

Acts 2:14, 36-41 (New Living Translation)

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

Psalm 116: 1-4, 12-19

I love you O Lord because you heard my voice:
   when I made my supplication,
because you turned your ear to me:
   when I called upon your name.
The cords of death entangled me, and the grip of Sheol laid hold on me:
   distress and anguish descended upon me.
Then I called upon the name of the Lord:
   ‘Deliver me O Lord I beseech you.’
I will take up the cup of salvation:
   and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord:
   in the presence of all God’s people.
Grievous in the sight of the Lord:
   is the death of a faithful servant.
Lord I am your servant, the child of your maidservant:
   you have freed me from my bonds.
I will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving:
   and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord:
   In the presence of all God’s people,
in the courts of the Lord’s house:
   in your midst O Jerusalem. O praise – the Lord.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Alleluia! Amen.

A reading from Luke 24:13-35 –­ or watch the video

(Two appearances of the risen Lord to(The story of how two disciples were met by a stranger on the road to Emmaus. That evening, as he breaks bread with them, they know the stranger to be Jesus) his disciples)

Rev’d Alister Hendery reading the Gospel for today Luke 24:13-35

  

JOHN 20:19-31

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.

LUKE 24:13-35 (New Revised Standard Version

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

The Sermon  

SEE THE SERMON below – OR just WATCH THE VIDEO

3rd Sunday of Easter (A)
Our journey to Emmaus
Luke 24:13-35
 
The road to Emmaus isn’t on any map. It’s whatever road we
take today or tomorrow or some day in the future – and Cleopas
and his companion are you or me. It’s our story. It’s a road
that’s always there, a journey that’s always happening and on
which there’s always the possibility of a certain stranger
coming near and walking with us.
 
Ernest Shackleton’s Emmaus road was the wild Antarctic seas
and the peaks and glaciers of the island of South Georgia. The
crew of his ship was stranded on Elephant Island. Shackleton
set out in a small lifeboat for the coast of South Georgia,
nearly 1,300 kilometres away. He and two companions crossed
the island’s unmapped mountains to reach a remote whaling
station. There Shackleton reported the plight of his crew and
mounted the expedition that would rescue them. He wrote of
that journey:
 
When I look back at those days, I have no doubt that
Providence guided us, not only across those snowfields, but
across the storm-white sea that separated Elephant Island from
our landing-place on South Georgia. I know that during that
long and racking march of 36 hours over the unnamed mountains
and glaciers of South Georgia, it seemed to me often that we
were four, not three. I said nothing to my companions on the
point, but afterwards Worsley said to me, “Boss, I had a
curious feeling on the march that there was another person
with us.”
 
T. S. Eliot recognised in Shackleton’s story an echo of the
Emmaus journey:
 
Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
–        But who is that on the other side of you?[1]
 
‘The white road’ is the path across the Antarctic snows – it’s
the road near Jerusalem on the afternoon of that first Easter
Day – it’s also our road.
 
Cleopas and his companion plodded home. They had come to know
and love Jesus. They believed he was the one who would save
Israel. But with his death, their hopes had been dashed. Were
his promises empty words? Now they knew a heart-rending loss
for what might have been. Reports of an empty tomb and a
vision of angels only added to their confusion and grief.
Nothing made sense anymore. All that was left for them to do
was to get out of Jerusalem and try to rebuild their lives.
 
These two could be any of us as we face doubt and
disillusionment, discouragement and despair – experiences
common to all of us at some point in our lives. You know how
hard it can be at such times to imagine that things will ever
be right again, and perhaps we forget what hope is. As for
God... well... has God forgotten us?
 
So it was for Cleopas and his companion. As they trod their
way to Emmaus, bearing their shattered hopes and grief, a
stranger came alongside. He began to reinterpret their grief
and shattered expectations. He explained Jesus to them as if
they had never really known him. He helped them to reinterpret
their experiences and to make sense of their doubts,
questions, and pain. In their grief they hear things they
couldn’t hear before. As a father, whose son had been killed
in an accident said, “I shall look at the world through tears.
Perhaps I shall see things that with dry-eyes I could not
see.”
 
Place yourself in this story. This picture has the disciples
cut out, allowing you to fill that space and make it your
experience. Perhaps this is you now, or it may be an
experience in the past. 
Like these two in the story, you don’t yet know that it’s
Jesus. You’re in the fog that covers your life. When, I
wonder, has a trust begun to grow; a new vision started to
develop; a fresh hope emerged? 
 
Now we travel a little further with them. Cleopas and his
companion were so captured by the stranger’s words that when
they got to Emmaus, they didn’t want him to go, so they ‘urged
him strongly’, they pressed him to stay with them. He agreed,
and as they sat down to supper, he picked up the bread,
blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. In that simple act
‘their eyes were opened, and they recognised him.’Sitting with
them at the table was the risen Christ! The two were so
renewed in faith, that they ran all the way back to Jerusalem
to tell others the good news.
 
Where / when / how have you been surprised to find the risen
Christ in your life? Has there been a moment when your eyes
were opened, and you recognised him in some surprising place
or way?
 
There was a sense of urgency in the way these two invited the
stranger to stay with them. I wonder, how often do we miss the
presence of the risen Christ in those about us and in the
ordinary stuff of life, because we lack that sense of
hospitality. Christ is here-and-now whenever we open ourselves
to noticing him in the world around us, finding in this
strange time of lockdown, and in our willingness to ‘be
Christ’ in our welcoming of others.
 
The risen Christ comes when and where we don’t expect; he
comes hidden in another; present in his apparent absence. He’s
there, walking beside us on the road, unknown to us. He is
present when it seems we’re devoid of faith and hope. We may
not feel his presence; we may not recognise him for some time,
but he’s there in our disappointments, dejection, and doubts.
 
For the two disciples, the point of recognition comes, when
Jesus breaks the bread. This is the moment when the rumours of
the empty tomb are transformed into reality. It’s Luke’s way
of talking about Eucharist and how God meets us in this meal.
We speak of Christ’s ‘real presence’ in Eucharist – Christ
truly present to us in bread and wine, in the scriptures
shared, and in the presence of our sisters and brothers. We
can’t at this time gather for Eucharist, but where do we
discover the real presence of the risen Jesus in our daily
lives and in the experience of this strange time that we are
sharing?
 
May our hearts burn within us and our eyes open to Christ’s
presence. May we see him in the stranger we meet unexpectedly,in the questions we ask, in the hurts we
experience, in griefs we know. May we know that we have a
companion walking beside us as we walk our Emmaus road.
 
Alister Hendery
St Matthew’s, Hastings – 26.4.2020
 


[1] T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems

Hymn ­ Light of the minds that know him


Tune: Aurelia. Words: Timothy Dudley-Smith (after St Augustine).
The words are below.

By clicking on this link, you will hear a recording from York Minster Choir

Light of the minds that know him,
may Christ be light to mine!
My sun in risen splendour,
my light of truth divine;
my guide in doubt and darkness,
my true and living way,
my clear light ever shining,
my dawn of heaven’s day.

Life of the souls that love him,
may Christ be ours indeed!
The living Bread from heaven
on whom our spirits feed;
who died for love of sinners
to bear our guilty load,
and make of life’s journey
a new Emmaus road.

Strength of the wills that serve him,
may Christ be strength to me,
who stilled the storm and tempest,
who calmed the tossing sea;
his Spirit’s power to move me,
his will to master mine,
his cross to carry daily
and conquer in his sign.

May it be ours to know him
that we may truly love,
and loving, fully serve him
as serve the saints above;
till in that home of glory
with fadeless splendour bright,
we serve in perfect freedom
our strength, our life, our light.

Prayers

Make your ways known upon earth, O God,
your saving power among all peoples.

Renew your Church in holiness,
and help us to serve you with joy.

Guide the leaders of this and every nation,
that justice may prevail throughout the world.

Let not the needy, O God, be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

Make us instruments of your peace,
and let your glory be over all the earth.

We pray for ourselves and for others … remembering especially

our Prime Minister, and all with responsibility to lead and govern,
that they may have the strength and wisdom they need for the days ahead;

all who are ill, and all who care for them,
that they may know they are loved even whilst separated from loved ones;

all who are working in essential and emergency response teams,
that they may be encouraged and supported in their roles;

for the dying and those who have died,
that those who watch and wait with them, and those who
grieve for them,
may find comfort and compassion wherever they are;

And for something, or someone, to give thanks for today.

Christ, you are risen with the sun;
you are light in our darkness,
warmth in our cold.
You are peace and hope and joy,
for you went willingly to death.
You turned defeat and failure to victory for all.
You live eternally, and with you live the millions,
living and dead, who trust in you.

In darkness and in light,
in trouble and in joy,
help us, heavenly Father,
to trust your love,
to serve your purpose,
and to praise your name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The risen Christ is in our midst, and so we pray

Our Father in heaven,
   hallowed be your name,
   your kingdom come,
   your will be done,
       on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
   as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
   and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours    now and for ever.    Amen. 

Christ who out of defeat brings new hope and new alternatives, bring us new life.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

            ~

KEEP IN TOUCH

Our St Matthew’s website is being updated regularly:  https://stmattshastings.com

Also our St Matthew’s Facebook

CONTACTS

The Rev’d Alister Hendery: 021 742 434
Email: alister.hendery@waiapu.com

Parish Office (Tracey at home):  06 878 9476
Email: stmatthews.hastings@gmail.com

~ This copyright material is taken from A New Zealand Prayer Book / He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa, © Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia and is used in accordance with regulations.

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