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MEETING THE MASTER*

Date: 
April 15, 2018
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson
Reading: 
Luke 24: 13-35

*The seed for this sermon and much of it’s content are drawn from a sermon by Richard J. Fairchild – Encountering The Risen Christ.   Sermons and Lectionary Resources  www.rockies.net in conjunction with www.christianglobe.com

 

THEME: Where do we meet the risen Christ? In scripture, in our daily walk, in prayer, and in communion…

 

INTRODUCTION

  • “How can I get to know God?” “How can I get to know what God expects of me?” Through the years, these are questions that I have often been asked more than once by church members.
  • Using the scripture reading from Luke’s Gospel, I am going to suggest to you that there are four ways that we come to know God and encounter the risen Christ: through scripture, through our daily walk, through prayer, and through the breaking of the bread – communion.

 

#1 - SCRIPTURE

  • The scripture reading from Luke is a wonderful story.
    • It is the story of how two men, on Easter morning, set out on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a distance of about 7 miles - a two hour walk.
    • Actually it may not have been two men because only one of them is identified – Cleopas – the other just may have been a woman…
    • The two were close followers of Jesus, but were not counted among the twelve disciples…
    • They are disappointed, disheartened, defeated and filled with despair by the recent events…. “They are so sad because their friend and Savior, Jesus, has been killed and they don’t understand it… Why did he have to die?”  (Kleyn)
    • As they walked along the road they were talking about Jesus, the One that they had hoped would redeem Israel.
    • Along the road they were met by a stranger… it was Jesus, but Luke tells us that “their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” (Luke 24:16)
      • That sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it?
      • They were his followers, yet they did not recognize him?
      • Perhaps they were too preoccupied with their own thoughts to really look at him…
      • Or perhaps he had a different appearance from the last time they had seen him just a few days before… they were not the only ones not to recognize the risen Christ at first…
      • I know that sometimes when I see a person in a place I don’t expect to see them, I do not recognize them… (Dave, the “clam man”)
    • The two followers began to speak to the stranger about all that had occurred in the Holy City during the previous week: the triumphant entry, the cleansing of the temple, the last supper, the arrest in the garden, the crucifixion, the burial in the borrowed tomb, the disappearance of his body…
    • “This man, this stranger, responded to their grief, their dejection, their shock and horror, regarding all that happened, by taking them on a journey through the law and the prophets.” (RJF)  
    • Beginning with Moses and all the prophets, Jesus opened the scriptures to them. As they listened, their hearts were aglow!
    • “He showed them how the scriptures foretold all that Jesus did, and all that he suffered, even how he would die, and what purpose it served.” (RJF)
    • “The scriptures are an amazing thing – Moses and David, Isaiah and Malachi, Jeremiah and Ruth, all speak of God’s anointed one – of God’s suffering servant. They speak too of God’s purpose and plan for the world – how it began, and how it all will end.” (RJF)
    •  “On the Emmaus Road, the stranger – Jesus, taught them about the mind of God, and the purpose of God, and how Jesus fit in with it all.” (RJF)
    • “Our Protestant tradition teaches us that the reading of scripture and the study of scripture and the proclamation of the message of the scriptures is the primary way in which we meet God – the primary way in which we meet Christ.” (RJF)

 

#2 - OUR DAILY WALK

  • Another way to come to know God, to come to know the risen Christ, is through our daily walk.
  • I am a firm believer that Jesus walks with us through everything. He shares our joy and our grief, our triumphs and our struggles, our peace and our pain, our dreams and our disappointments.
  • We are never alone on life’s journey even if we feel that God has abandoned us.
  • Perhaps Jesus said to the two disciples on the Emmaus Road, “I didn’t come to take the road away. I just came to walk with you. I’m going to walk with you until we’re home.” (Newland)
  • Jesus walks with us to guide our steps, to give us strength, to share our burden, but sometimes our eyes are kept from recognizing him.
  • When I taught the Confirmation Class in my previous church, we began every session by asking the teens to share a good thing, a bad thing, and a God thing… they shared the best thing that had happened to them during the past week, the worst thing that happened to them in the past week, and a place where they had seen God at work in the past week.
  • Seeing God at work was the most difficult thing for the teens to recognize – and it can be difficult for us, too – but if we train our eyes we will see God at work all around us…
  • Sometimes we will meet the risen Christ in the faces of those around us – a person who dries our tears, a person whose presence comforts us, a person who walks with us when the walking is difficult OR we will see the risen Christ in the face of one reaching out with compassion to strangers in need. (e.g. – Boston Marathon bombing, homeless shelters, food pantries, etc.)

 

#3 - PRAYER

  • I am also a firm believer that we get to know God through prayer, especially when we take the time to listen for God’s voice…
  • I believe that God does speak to us, but in our haste, we do not listen… or maybe we don’t hear God speaking to us because don’t expect God to speak to us… like the followers on the Emmaus Road who did not recognize the risen Christ, we don’t recognize the voice of God.
  • My denominational background is The United Church of Christ – a denomination that believes without a doubt that God is still speaking!
  • I will say more about prayer at another time, but suffice it to say for now that prayer is conversing with God… we learn about others by conversing with them – exchanging words and ideas… so it is with God – we learn about God by conversing with God.
  • Richard Fairchild wrote, “I can’t number the times that prayer to the God who I have met through the scripture has warmed my heart, calmed my fears, and given me a basic assurance about the future. In prayer I felt God’s Spirit touch me. In prayer I have heard him tell me what I should do and should not do. In prayer I felt his forgiveness and experienced a joy that words cannot express… Prayer is so precious – in it the God we meet – the Christ we meet – becomes even more real to us… his presence is even more immediate.”  (RJF)

 

 

#4 - BREAKING OF THE BREAD

  • There is a fourth way to come to know God – to come to know the risen Christ – and that is at the Table of the Lord.
  • The disciples on the Emmaus Road did not recognize the risen Christ until he sat down with them to a meal in their home…  at the table they recognized him in the breaking of the bread. (Luke 4:35)
    • This is my favorite part of the Emmaus Road story…
    • When the three weary travelers arrive in Emmaus they invite Jesus to share a meal with them…
    • Jesus takes bread and blesses it and breaks it and gives it to them and there is something strikingly familiar in what he is doing.
    • And suddenly it dawns upon them… their eyes are opened… they know who this stranger is… they recognize him in the breaking of the bread…
    • Jesus turns their simple meal into a memory (Kleyn)
  • And that is what Jesus does whenever we gather for communion – he turns a simple meal into a memory for us… He makes himself known to us in the breaking of the bread…
  • “The church has long taught us that we come to know God in the literal act of breaking bread and giving thanks… for here it is that we commune with God and with one another.” (RJF)
  • We come to the table as invited guests to be in the presence of the risen Christ… Jesus promises, “Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them…”   (Matthew 18:20)

 

CONCLUSION

  • We may come to know God in scripture, in our daily walk, in prayer, and in the breaking of the bread…
  • When we come to know God - when we meet the risen Christ - our response should be the same as the response of the disciples who met Jesus on the Emmaus Road: they turned themselves around with a sense of urgency to share their discovery - their great joy - with the others…
  • With renewed energy and hope, they walked the seven miles back to Jerusalem, anxious to tell their story: Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed!

 

Sermon Seeds:

  • PRIMARY SEED: Encountering The Risen Christ  - a sermon by Richard J. Fairchild – www.rockies.net
  • Their Eyes Were Opened – a sermon by Rev. Melvin Newman
  • Walking With The Risen Lord on the Emmaus Road – a sermon by Rev. Rodney Kleyn

 

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