Saturday, April 25, 2020

Let Faith Open Your Eyes

The Third Sunday in Easter

**Please note this service is based on the format of the Anglican Church of Canada. Unless otherwise indicated, all prayers come from the Book of Alternative Services (BAS) and the hymns from the Book of Common Praise (BCP). Other hymns and prayers have been sourced to give appropriate credit.

**NRSV translation used for the readings, unless otherwise stated.

**This is for personal use at home as the church is unable to gather in our houses of worship but together we can worship in our own homes.

Opening Prayer
Lord Jesus, open to us the scriptures; make our hearts burn within us while you speak. (Luke 24:32)

Living God,
Long ago, faithful women proclaimed the good news of Jesus’ resurrection, and the world was changed forever. Teach us to keep faith with them, that our witness may be as bold, our love as deep, and our faith as true. Amen. (Revised Common Lectionary Prayers)

Opening Hymn – Lord, We Hear Your Word with Gladness (BCP #447)
            Listen Here

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

May his grace and peace be with you.
May he fill our hearts with joy.

Collect for Purity
            Listen Here

The Gloria
          Listen Here

Collect of the Day
Let us pray.
O God, your Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread. Open the eyes of our faith, that we may see him in his redeeming work, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Readings
A reading from the Book of Acts                           2:14a,36-41
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

The word of the Lord.
Thanks be the God.

Psalm 116
            Listen Here
I love the Lord, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, *
because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.
The cords of death entangled me;
the grip of the grave took hold of me; *
I came to grief and sorrow.
Then I called upon the Name of the Lord: *
"O Lord, I pray you, save my life."
Gracious is the Lord and righteous; *
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord watches over the innocent; *
I was brought very low, and he helped me.
Turn again to your rest, O my soul. *
for the Lord has treated you well.
For you have rescued my life from death, *
my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.
I will walk in the presence of the Lord *
in the land of the living.
I believed, even when I said,
"I have been brought very low." *
In my distress I said, "No one can be trusted."
How shall I repay the Lord *
for all the good things he has done for me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation *
and call upon the Name of the Lord.
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord *
in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord *
is the death of his servants. 
O Lord, I am your servant; *
I am your servant and the child of your handmaid;
you have freed me from my bonds.
I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving *
and call upon the Name of the Lord.
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord *
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the Lord's house, *
in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

A reading from the First Letter of Peter                            1:17-23
If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 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. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Gradual Hymn – He Comes to Us AS One Unknown (Words from BCP #456)
            Listen Here

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.                        24:13-35
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


The Gospel of Christ.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

The people have just witnessed the passion and crucifixion of Jesus. Now what? Some hang about waiting to see what comes next, because they have heard the stories that Jesus was to be the saviour of the people. They weren’t expecting him to die without accomplishing that feat.
The majority of the people who had been present that fateful morning were not from Jerusalem and are now making their way home.
That’s what these two people in Luke’s account are doing; they are headed home to a village called Emmaus, and they are talking about everything that had happened.
While they were walking, a man suddenly appeared and asked what they were talking about. The men couldn’t believe that there was anyone around that wasn’t aware of everything that had happened in the last few days.
When you read this passage, it easy to say “how did these two not know that it was Jesus who was walking with them?”
But Luke doesn’t say they didn’t recognize him. He says “their eyes were kept from recognizing him”. It’s not like they wouldn’t remember what Jesus looked like. They had just watched him die on a cross only 3 days prior!
“Their eyes were kept from recognizing him” – Jesus has veiled his identity from the two in front of him. He appears to them but he doesn’t allow them to recognize that it is really him.
            It’s as if Jesus wants to hear what they have to say about him and about what happened.
            Cleopas, the only of the two to be named, told the story of the last three days, but in doing, reduces Jesus from the Messiah to a prophet – “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.”
            Cleopas has lost his faith, his hope. To Cleopas, Jesus was to have been to saviour and redeemer of Israel but three days after his death, nothing has changed in the world.
            So he decided to leave Jerusalem and go home, believing the Jesus had only been a prophet, not the promised Messiah.
            Surprisingly, this is even after he admitted the fact that he knew about the empty tomb, that he had heard the story from the women who had visited Jesus’ tomb and found it empty.
            Until this point, Jesus had been listening patiently, knowing better than anyone what had happened at cavalry, but once Cleopas admitted the fact that he still didn’t believe that Jesus was alive even after receiving the report of the empty tomb and the message from the angels, Jesus rebuked the men.
            He rebuked them for their lack of faith, for not believing the prophets who had come before Jesus. These men would have known the scriptures. They would have heard the stories of Moses and Isaiah and all the prophets who foretold of a Messiah who would have to “suffer before entering into his glory.”
            And yet, even after hearing stories of Jesus’ life and ministry, after witnessing his death, and after receiving the message from the tomb, Cleopas has chosen to not believe the prophets from whom he would have grown up learning.
            He is lacking faith.
            Jesus called them foolish men and could have stormed off in disgust. But he doesn’t.
            He meets them where they are, in their pain and their doubt, in their brokenness and their lack of faith. And then evangelizes to them through the scriptures as they walked the road to Emmaus.
            When Jesus finally reveals himself to Cleopas and his companion, it is through his words at the table that were identical to the words used at the last supper in the upper room. Jesus reveals himself and then disappears, leaving the two to realize the burning fire of faith renewed in their hearts.
            Once that faith was restored, their eyes were opened once again.
            The fulfillment of the prophets did not end with the resurrection of Jesus. It is happening every day as our faith burns within us.
            As he did with Cleopas and his companion, Jesus walks with us through our pain and sadness, doubts and fear, and even, or especially, our loss of faith.
            It’s easy to lose our faith and to be blind to what’s before us, especially in times of fear and sadness as we are experiencing during this pandemic, mass shootings, poverty, war…
            Jesus walks with us down our own road to Emmaus and it is our faith in Jesus that will open our eyes to the beauty and glory of his resurrection.
            It’s okay to doubt. Doubt is not the opposite of faith, in fact it is a requirement of faith. Honestly, in light of all the death and trauma and disappointment and tragedy that colors every human life, it’s not really surprising that we would have at least some difficulty believing the promise that God not only raised one person, Jesus, from the dead, but also promises new life and second chances and forgiveness and grace to all.
            But it is our faith in Jesus that will give us the strength to keep moving forward, to support one another from afar, and to be witness to the beauty that can be found in the world even in the face of the horrific situation we currently find ourselves in.

Affirmation of Faith
Let us confess the faith of our baptism, as we say the Apostles’ Creed:

The Prayers of the People
Holy God,
You invite us to bring our doubts and fears, our joys and concerns, our petitions and praise, and offer them for the earth and all its creatures, (Revised Common Lectionary Prayers) saying: Lord, hear our prayer.

(From the book of Intercessions for the Christian People) Let us pray.

For the church universal and for this community of faith, that we may wholeheartedly devote ourselves to the apostolic teaching, to common life, to the breaking of bread, and the life of prayer, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

For all nations and people of this wide earth, that we may be delivered from human devices of oppression, and from false idols and futile ways, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

That all who grieve or who are desperate or haunted by violence may know the hidden strength of Christ present, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

For the homeless, those without bread, those tempted by vengeance and driven to rage, that they may find refuge and strength in the one who walks with them, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

For the children of calamity, and for our own children, that they may come to know and to claim the promises of God to all generations, near and far off, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

Please take time to offer your own intercessions or to pray in silence.

Living Jesus, whose presence on our daily road we often fail to see; warm our hearts with fresh confidence in your Word, so that, in making room for the stranger beside us, we find your hospitality awaiting us, and the reassurance of your presence to inspire us to tread the road again and to share the good news of your resurrection life. Amen. (Posted on the Monthly Prayers page of the Christian Aid website.

Gathering our prayers together, let us pray as Christ has 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 trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
And deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

Confession and Absolution
Dear friends in Christ,
God is steadfast in love and infinite in mercy; God welcomes sinners and invites them to the table. Let us confess our sins, confident in God’s forgiveness.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbour as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us, that we might delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Amen.

Almighty God, have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.

Prayer over the Gifts
**Although not physically at our church buildings to share our offering together I would encourage you to set your offering of money aside so that it can be dropped off or placed in the church once services resume, to mail your offering to the church, or to make donations online. Please remember ministry is still taking place.

Let us pray.
Creator of all, you wash away our sins in water, you give us new birth by the spirit, and redeem us in the blood of Christ. As we celebrate the resurrection, renew your gift of life within us. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the risen Lord. Amen.

May God,
who comes to us
in the things of this world,
bless your eyes
and be in your seeing.

May Christ,
who looks upon you
with deepest love,
bless your eyes
and widen your gaze.

May the Spirit,
who perceives what is
and what may yet be,
bless your eyes
and sharpen your vision.

May the Sacred Three
bless your eyes
and cause you to see. Amen.
(From In the Sanctuary of Women, copyright © Jan L. Richardson.  Posted on the painted prayerbook.

Closing Hymn – You Are Salt for the Earth (BCP #502)
            Listen Here

Go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit. Alleluia!
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

1 comment:

  1. This is a very beautiful service! Thank you especially for all the music! I love it!