SERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY
April 17, 2022
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Let me remind you quickly of our protocols for everyone’s safety.
· Attendance was taken by Ushers as you entered.
· Masks are required by those not vaccinated as well as social distancing
Bulletins are placed in the pews to help with social distancing
· Offerings may be placed in the plate by the doors.
· Please write your prayer request on the Yellow cards. An usher will pick them up during the 1st hymn.
· Please join us after service for fellowship will be continuing with beverages only, Snack start April 3rd in Calvin Hall
Gary Iverson, Bob Bock, Joan Boyd, Wanda Hirl, Marilyn Neymeyer, Joan Pinkston, Maxine Wagner, Annette Conzett, Jo Lefleur, Dr Dyke, Harlan Marx ,Lois Seger, Jon Ryner, Abagail Niles, Helanah Niles, Kay Werner, Ukraine, Doug Nelson, Arlene Pawlik, Angela and Tristan , and Jake Pinkston
*WORDS OF WORSHIP
The Lord is risen.
He is risen indeed!
Let us worship the risen Christ.
May our worship be acceptable in God’s sight.
Dear Lord, on this most joyful of all our holy days, we remember your gift of grace to the world through Christ. As we sing our praise and learn from your word, we ask that you would inspire our faith. Help us to continue to walk in the footsteps of Jesus until that day we join with all the saints before your throne. Amen.
*HYMN “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” #113
CONFESSION AND PARDON
Together, let us confess our sins to the Lord.
O God of all that is good, we come to you knowing our need for your forgiveness. We acknowledge our self-centeredness at times, our pride, our lack of trust, our unwillingness to hear another’s thoughts or see their pain Even as you forgive us, help us to empathize more and judge less, and to offer grace as you have done for us. We pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Assurance of Pardon
The Apostle John assures us: If we confess our sins to the Lord, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Thanks be to God, amen.
*Passing of the Peace ( facing those across the aisle from you)
Left: May the peace of Christ be with you.
Right: And also with you. May the peace of Christ be with you.
Left: And also with you.
(You may be seated.)
Our Lord, we know that all that we have is from your hand. We now offer a portion of your blessing as an act of worship. We pray that you will guide us to use it to further your good news and ministry of love to others from this place. Amen
Prayer of Illumination
Loving God, as we hear your word, we ask you open our eyes that we may see Jesus in them, and that our hearts may be stirred by his presence, through your Spirit. Amen.
24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
SERMON “Easter Heartburn”
Our world and national history are marked by pivotal moments: last 100 years or so—the stock market crash of ’29, bombing of Pearl Harbor, assassination of President Kennedy, first walk on the moon, fall of the Twin Towers in NYC. Also, big change but not so “pivotal,” are things like…. Well, our younger ones don’t know what it is like to have to walk across the room to turn on a black and white TV with only 3 channels! What big event will be next for us?
Today we recall how Jesus’ closest followers learned of a pivotal event that divided history in half: the empty tomb. There are two men making their way home after being in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. They are walking to Emmaus, a little village not quite seven miles out of town. The hour is getting late. As they walk, they are rehashing the events of the weekend, just like we do after our history-changing events.
As they are walking a stranger overtakes them from behind and asks what they are talking about. The text says, “They stood still, sad-faced.” They reply to him, more or less, “Are you kidding? You haven’t heard?!” They proceed to fill him in. they describe Jesus of Nazareth as “a prophet mighty in word and deed before God and all the people.” He is a compassionate miracle-worker of astounding spiritual and moral insight.
They explain the week’s events from Palm Sunday’s triumph to Good Friday’s darkness. (paraphrase) “We welcomed him as the promised king who would take back the throne of David and oust the Romans. We believed he was God’s Messiah sent to us. By the end of the week the mood in the city turned against him. Jewish religious leaders convinced the people he was a fraud and blasphemer. They turned him over to the Romans to be condemned and crucified. That was Friday. But this morning, when some women went to the tomb to finish wrapped his body in spices for burial, he wasn’t there. They said angels told them he was alive again. Of course, we didn’t listen to them, thinking they were just overwrought with grief. But then a couple of his closet friends also said the tomb was indeed empty.”
Jesus lets them babble on, but then cuts right to the chase. “Oh, how foolish you are! And so slow of heart to believe all that the prophets declared. Did you not know this was necessary, that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” The stranger then began to teach them, beginning way back in Genesis and summarizing the prophets, that the Scriptures pointed to the man Jesus as God’s Messiah.
By then they were near their home and the stranger continued to walk on, but they urged him to stay with them as night was falling. He entered their house and sat with them at the table for a meal. When they offered the bread, he blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. Immediately their eyes were opened and they recognized him. And just as immediately the Lord vanished.
They turned to each other and said, “Did not our hearts burn within us as he was walking with us, opening the meaning of the Scriptures to us?” They got up from the table and headed back to Jerusalem to find the 11 disciples. This was their pivotal moment. This was the moment they realized the significance of Christ’s coming, death and resurrection! Their eyes were opened and they would never be the same.
They meet up with disciples and tell them what happened. They also have good news, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon Peter.” Jesus suddenly appears, stands among them and says, “Shalom.” He then explains the Scriptures again and gives them the task of spreading the good news to all nations, so that all may have the opportunity to know him, to repent and be forgiven.
I want to point out a couple of things. In v. 16 it says when Jesus walks with them on the road, “their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” Then in v. 31 it reads, “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” Both of these statements are in the passive voice. The active voice means the activity is done by the subject: I close my eyes. I open my eyes. But in the passive voice, the action is done by another to the subject. Thus it reads, “Their eyes were [closed]…their eyes were opened.”
The question then is, who is it that closes or opens our spiritual eyes? The Bible teaches that Satan blinds the eyes to spiritual truth, and that the Holy Spirit is the one who illumines (e.g., John 6) and sheds light on God’s truth so that we see. In Act 26 Jesus tells the Apostle Paul, v. 18, [I am sending you to the Gentiles] to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are made hold by faith in me.”
The two men on that road to Emmaus at first were unable to see the stranger who was actually the risen Lord, and yet their hearts burned within them as he opened the Scriptures. It was after their “spiritual heartburn” that their eyes were opened to recognize him. Once again Scripture affirms that the cold-hearted cannot see the Lord (no matter how good our arguments!), but that the Lord opens the eyes of those whose hearts have warmed, hearts that are ready to receive him. It was the presence and the word of the Lord that softened their hearts so that the Spirit could open their eyes to recognize the risen Christ.
This morning, are your eyes open to see and receive gladly divine truth of the Lord? Do your sense with a warm heart the presence of the living, risen Christ? Has your heart burned within as we have worshipped him this morning?
I want to make something clear. Faith is not a feeling. Our feelings are too subject to change. So, this “burning heart” that I’m talking about may or may not be accompanied by feelings of joyful zeal. Initially, yes. We might talk about Christians who are “on fire” for the Lord. Jf they were logs in our fireplace, they’d be full of dancing flames. Over time as we walk with the Lord, the burning heart within is more like the heat given off by the coals, more steady and ultimately hotter. The burning within our hearts needs to be stirred at times, just like coals—which is why we gather for worship weekly, and at other times for fellowship, learning or service.
So, the burning heart is not so much a feeling we keep trying to experience. Rather it is more like a steady, humble awareness of the presence of the Lord and our love for him. In seminary there was a group called “The Fellowship of the Burning Hearts.” The Emmaus Road disciples shared that burning heart. They wanted more and the Lord met them and gave them a purpose to spread his gospel.
A city dweller bought a farm and also a cow, so that he could have fresh milk. Shortly after he got it, the cow went dry. He asked his neighbor farmer about it, who agreed that he took great care of that cow. The city guy said, “Yes. In fact, some days if I didn’t need milk, I didn’t take any. Or, if I only needed a quart, I only milked a quart.”
The experienced farmer understood and explained, “Friend, the only way to keep milk flowing is not to take as little as possible from the cow, but to take as much as possible.”
Is that not also true of our Christian faith? If we only turn to God when we have need, we miss the real joy that flows from a daily filling of God’s Spirit. Whatever spiritual heartburn we may have had is long since cooled by neglect.
The Emmaus Road friends had an unforgettable, burning-heart, eye-opening encounter with Jesus Christ, as I hope we have. Dear friends, never let the fire go out through inattentiveness. After our “Easter heartburn” let us never let the well run dry from lack of use. As Peter says in his letter, “Long for the true spiritual milk of the Word.” Jesus tells us to thirst for the “living waters” of the Spirit.
The fellowship of burning hearts is incomparable to anything else, though some compare it to falling in love, and in fact, call one’s relationship to Christ a “sacred romance.” That is to say, our hearts burn when Jesus is near; our hearts burn when the Spirit illumines God’s word; our hearts burn when we are serving the Lord without thought for ourselves, or when giving generously. Faithful devotion to the living Christ is the most profound experience of life, and all the richer when shared with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our hearts burn because God is touching us with holy fire and giving us a glimpse of future glory and the present peace that passes understanding.
Now… for those who, like me, are less-demonstrative with emotions, you may be unsure of your own spiritual “heartburn.” No problem! Again, it’s not merely a feeling, but certainly it is a deep conviction. Plus, we have this marvelous promise from Isaiah 42, v. 3: “…a dimly burning wick [God] will not extinguish.” However you experience the presence of Christ within you, as a bright flame or a dimly burning wick!—God receives it and opens your eyes as you continue to seek him! Jesus is risen. Jesus is here! So let the Easter Heartburn continue!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I pray on behalf of myself, of this church, and on behalf of any who sense your nearness and on behalf of those who want to. Please stay near us. We want to know you better. We want to experience your purpose for our existence, and not just satisfy ourselves. We desire the peace, the joy, the hope and the certainty of your love when the storms assail us. Keep us in the fellowship of the burning hearts. We love you more than anything. We thank you for your overflow of blessings to us. We thank you that some day. we too will be resurrected and will see Jesus face to face, and be like him [1 John]. To you be all glory on earth and in heaven. Amen.
*AFFIRMATION OF FAITH 1 Corinthians 15:19-22
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
*HYMN “Christ Is Risen” (Ode to Joy tune) #104
PASTORAL PRAYER AND LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
forever." -- Amen.
Hymn: “Christ Is Alive” #108
Blessing and Charge
The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed!
May that truth be more than a slogan, but rather the experience of Christ’s presence in our lives. May our “Easter Heartburn” be a reality as we live in this world that is often cold and without heart. May the love of God, the inner strength of the Holy Spirit, and the burning presence of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Go in hope and peace!
* Sections of the service preceded with * are times to stand if you are able to do so.
Bold text is to be read together aloud as a congregation.