You are here

HOPE IS ALIVE*

Date: 
April 30, 2017
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
Luke 24: 13-27

THEMES: As long as God is by our side, hope is still alive

INTRODUCTION

  • I love Broadway musicals, and I’ve been fortunate to see a number of them in NYC, Boston, and London. I’ve also seen a number of them produced by local community theaters, summer stock companies and by high school drama clubs. Rarely have I been disappointed.
  • The most powerful moment of most Broadway musicals comes just before the final curtain… I have vivid memories of the final scenes of Les Mis, Man of La Mancha, Phantom of the Opera, Godspell, and others, but Camelot has always been one of my favorite musicals…
  • The final scene of Camelot is indeed powerful and poignant…
    • King Arthur sits alone in the forest… a lull has come in the battle… King Arthur is resting, but more than that, he is brooding.. he is depressed and heartsick…
    • He is the picture of disillusion… all his hopes and dreams have been dashed… the battle has pitted him against his most famous and trusted knight, Sir Lancelot…
    • Lancelot has betrayed him and stolen away the love of King Arthur’s queen, the beautiful Guinevere…
    • King Arthur’s hopes that his kingdom can be one of peace, goodness and harmony have been devastated by the divisive actions of Lancelot.
    • The dream of the Knights of the Round Table, where each one sat in equality, had been thrown for a loop by this war that pitted friend against friend.  <Moore>
  • In the final scene of Camelot King Arthur sits alone, downhearted and discouraged, as he looks back over a life of noble goals and great ambitions now seemingly shattered and destroyed.
    • Suddenly he hears a noise… thinking it might be the enemy, King Arthur grabs his sword, only to discover a young boy coming toward him – a boy of no more than 12 or 13…
    • The boy is looking for King Arthur and immediately recognizes the famous king…
    • The boy tells King Arthur that he has come to join him in Camelot…
    • The boy says, “From my earliest childhood I have heard of the mighty and noble Knights of the Round Table – how they honor and respect one another and fight for what is good and right… how they protect the people and stand for all that is true.”
    • He wants to be like that, he says; he wants to be a Knight of the Round Table.
  • Suddenly Arthur realizes that his dream has not died…
    • The vision of yet a court of justice and equality, a land of right and truth, a people of nobility and integrity – the vision… the dream… it’s still alive!
    • “Quick, boy, kneel,” the king orders… taking the mighty sword, Excalibur, he places the flat blade on each of the boy’s shoulders and with a strong and proud voice he says, “I dub thee ‘Sir Tom, Knight of the Round Table.’”
    • Then King Arthur lifts the young boy up from his knees and says, “Go back home, my son. Tell everyone that Camelot is possible. Run, Sir Tom, run! Tell the world it’s still possible! Run, Sir Tom, run! Tell everyone that hope is still alive!”
  • What a powerful moment! – a man at the end of his hope, brokenhearted and disillusioned, has his hope suddenly renewed!
  • That scene from Camelot reminds me of the story from scripture that I shared with you moments ago – a story that took place on the road to Emmaus… remember the story with me…

 

THE EMMAUS ROAD

  • It is Easter afternoon… Cleopas and Simon have been followers of Jesus, but now they have thrown in the towel… they are limping down the Emmaus Road like broken and defeated warriors…
    • They know about the crucifixion… they saw it with their own eyes… but they do not yet know about the resurrection… they have not yet experienced the risen Christ.
    • Disappointed, disillusioned, defeated, brokenhearted, downcast, they trudge down the road toward home…
    • Their hopes for the future have been dashed – so, not knowing what else to do, they turn back to their old life…
    • Picture them in your mind: their shoulders are slumped… their heads are bowed as though they carry on their backs a crushing burden of defeat… they limp along with weary steps as if their shoes were weighted with lead… their eyes are misted over with tears… they walk together in silence…
  • At last, with a sigh weighted with despair, the younger man speaks, “He’s dead. He’s gone! It’s all over. They have killed the Master, and without him we are nothing… we should have known this wouldn’t work… we should have known that it was too good to be true – too idealist for this cruel world… How could we have been such fools?... We followed him. We trusted him. We thought he was the One who would save us, and now it’s all over.”
  • Cleoplas and Simon are the bold portrait of the stress-fractured spirit: down, defeated, worn, weary, wounded… sometimes we are like that, too…
  • But this is not the end of the story… no, the Risen Lord comes to them… he walks with them… he talks with them… he opens the scriptures to them… he breaks bread with them, and as they experience the resurrected Christ, they, too, get resurrected… they are healed… they find new life… and they rush back to Jerusalem – no more trudging or limping – they rush back to Jerusalem to share the good news with the other disciples… they run shouting, “HOPE IS STILL ALIVE! CHRIST IS RISEN! CHRIST IS ALIVE!

 

LESSONS FROM THE EMMAUS ROAD

  • Like Camelot, the story of the Emmaus Road is a powerful and poignant story…
  • James W. Moore, in his book The Top Ten List For Christians, highlights three very important lessons from the story of the Emmaus Road.
  • FIRST – Christ comes to us in a special way when we are hurting…
    • Christ is always with us in every life experience, but I’ve noticed that he seems to draw closer to us when we are hurting…
    • Cleopas and Simon were hurting that day as they plodded down the Emmaus Road, and then suddenly Christ was there to give them strength and meet their need…
    • You’d think it would be easy for us to feel the power and presence of Christ when life is sunny and bright and everything is coming up roses, but the truth is that Christ is never nearer to us than when we are hurting…
    • He is uniquely and especially with us when we are hurting for two reasons…
      • First, we are more open to the presence of God when we are down and out…
      • Second, God is a loving parent who wants to be especially close to his children when they are in pain… if you are a parent, you understand…
  • SECOND – Christ has the power to heal our hurts…
    • Healing takes place on the Emmaus Road
      • Cleopas and Simon are trudging home with stress-fractured spirits…
      • Christ comes to them and walks with them symbolizing the importance of the daily walk with Christ…
      • He talks with them, showing them the power of prayer… he opens the scriptures to them, underscoring the importance of Bible reading… he breaks bread with them… and he sends them “back to church.”
      • Prayer + Bible Study + The Sacraments + The Church + The Daily Walk with Christ are the prescription for healing a fractured spirit…
    • The good news of the Christian faith is that we never walk alone… Jesus Christ is always with us… We do not ever have to face the hard realities of life alone… Jesus Christ is with us to hold our hands and heal our hurts…
  • THIRD – Christ shares his resurrection with us…
    • When we experience the risen Lord, like Cleopas and Simon, we are resurrected, too… we receive new life…
    • This is one of the most amazing lessons of Easter – Christ is not the only one who is resurrected…
    • After seeing what they saw on Good Friday, the followers of Jesus were devastated, defeated and disillusioned, but then came Easter…
    • Christ breathed new life into them… he shared his resurrection with them, as he does with all who follow him…
    • When we take up his torch, when we commit ourselves to continue Christ’s ministry of love, and when in faith we accept him as our Savior, then we become whole… our stress fractures are healed, our hope is restored, and we really come alive.

 

CONCLUSION

  • Friends, never lose hope…
  • Hope is still alive!
  • As long as God is by our side, hope is still alive!

 

 

*SERMON SEEDS

This sermon is taken almost WORD-FOR-WORD from James W. Moore’s book The Top Ten List For Christians… I made only minor changes and/or additions to the introduction and conclusion of this message… this is not my usual style, but I loved what James W. Moore wrote and did not feel that changes were necessary…

I first preached this sermon in 2001 as part of a sermon series based on James W. Moore’s book… I have since used this sermon with my two New Clergy Groups…

It seems again in 2017 like a very timely message for the world and for the church…

Worship Bulletin