Easter 3

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Readings

Acts 2:14a, 36-41
1 Peter 1: 17-23 
Luke 24:13-35

Text

My name is Andrew Sillis, and I’m the vicar of St Thomas’ Church in Stourbridge

I’ve found it quite tricky to put these words together for you. The world is changing so quickly I have no idea what it will be like by the time you get to hear this message. You might be hearing this at the peak of Covid19’s fury; or you might be seeing the light at the end of its very long dark tunnel. I don’t know.

The two disciples that Jesus met along the road to Emmaus must have been in a similar situation - not knowing. On the one hand their hopes had been dashed having seen Jesus crucified, but they’d also been hearing stories of his being seen alive and not quite knowing what that might mean for them.

For the last few years, the BBC have made a series called Pilgrimage, which my wife and I have greatly enjoyed. In the programme, a group of celebrities, of differing faiths and backgrounds, share a journey along a well-trodden spiritual path. This year they were walking from Belgrade to Istanbul along the Sultan’s trail. (If you haven’t seen it, you’ll need to be very quick to catch the end of this year’s series on BBC iPlayer). The spiritual growth experienced by each of the participants is always profound.

Pilgrimage is a valuable spiritual practice because it encompasses reflection on the whole of one’s faith journey in a short period; and it allows one to reflect on that experience as you continue the journey in your ordinary everyday life. It need not be a long and arduous journey though. Perhaps you have had the experience of walking a labyrinth, where in just the space of a few minutes you can make a pilgrimage into the depths of life and back out again.

Now, this might be a bit of a stretch, but I’d like to invite you to take a pilgrimage this week as we reflect on today’s Bible readings. There are a few ways, in these straitened times, by which you might achieve this. If you are able to take a daily walk for exercise, divide your route into three equal parts; If you cannot leave the house, perhaps you have three rooms, or can travel to your garden and back; or if you cannot leave your room, perhaps you can select three pieces of quiet instrumental music to which you can listen. Whatever you are able to do, make it into three equal parts.

In the first part, we think about what has happened.

“that same day [two of Jesus followers] were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened”

Think about your experiences of Jesus.

Give thanks for the ways in which he has touched your life - for the moments of grace and the answers to prayer.

Think about that moment of transformation, when you realised that Jesus was your Saviour; think about how you might describe that experience, to someone who doesn’t know Jesus.

In the second part, we listen to him carefully.

“beginning with Moses and all the prophets,

he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures”

Would you like to know what he said? Well, this is your moment, he’s here to explain - what are you going to ask him? Stop trying to figure it out for yourself, listen to him.

“their eyes were opened, and they recognised him”

In the third part, we think about what comes next.

“That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. […] Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Meeting Christ should never leave us unmoved; it will inevitably lead us to act; we might share good news, or find other ways to serve Christ.

What does he expect of you? What are you going to do next?

I have no idea what the world will be like at the time you get to hear this message.

The disciples on the road to Emmaus didn’t know what the future held for them either. They didn’t even know whether or not they had a Messiah.

Jesus called them foolish for not having the faith to see that, whatever is the case right now, this is not the end of the story.

Everything in the past has led up to this moment.

Every step of faith is just one more step in life’s pilgrimage.

The path ahead might be unknown, but his continual presence with us is all the surety we need.

We can recognise him in the scriptures, we can recognise him in the breaking of bread, and we can recognise him in the stranger on the road that we invite to eat with us (once social distancing rules are relaxed of course).

So take a pilgrim’s moment to reflect on your journey, to listen to his wisdom, and to decide on your next act in his service.

I offer you this in his name.


Page last updated: 4th May 2020 2:05 PM
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