- Hymn 416 Christ is alive! Let Christians sing (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)
- All-age time
- Reading Luke 24: 13-35 (Good News Bible)
- Prayer for others
- Hymn 512 To God be the glory (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)
Welcome and let us worship God
‘When they asked, he gave them bread of heaven in plenty’Psalm 105: 40
1 Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.
The cross stands empty to the sky.
Let streets and homes with praises ring.
Love, drowned in death, shall never die.
2 Christ is alive! No longer bound
to distant years in Palestine,
but saving, healing, here and now,
and touching every place and time.
3 In every insult, rift, and war,
where colour, scorn, or wealth divide,
Christ suffers still, yet loves the more,
and lives, where even hope has died.
4 Women and men, in age and youth,
can feel the Spirit, hear the call,
and find the way, the life, the truth,
revealed in Jesus, freed for all.
5 Christ is alive, and comes to bring
good news to this and every age,
till earth and sky and ocean ring
with joy, with justice, love, and praise.
Today’s story involves Cleopas and someone else, friends of Jesus, meeting him on their way home after a day in Jerusalem (a bit like travelling from Dumbuck to Cardross). It is Easter Day and they meet the Risen Jesus, but they don’t recognise him, till they invite him in for his tea (and presumably offer him a bed for the night). They rush all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the others
For older participants
- Look out/ look up some photos of places you visited on holiday or days out. What are your memories of those places?
- What is the most exciting trip you ever made?
- What was your nightmare journey?
- Share your story with someone else. (Tactful thing might be to phone them up, ask for their memories, and then add yours afterwards!)
For younger participants
Find your way through the maze:
- Something to do:
Assume that you are fit and well, money is no object, and Covid-19 is gone. Plan a day out. Where would you like to go? What would you do? What would you take with you?
Again, with the same assumptions as above, plan your ‘dream holiday’
There are many things in life for which we want to give you thanks:
family and friends
food to eat, clean water to drink
homes to live in
being part of a community where people care for and support each other
having education, healthcare and social care for all
and so much more
but there are also things that trouble us
questions that won’t go away:
why did so many have to die from this virus?
why can’t people live together in peace?
why do some people treat others so badly, so unfairly?
why do some people have to suffer so much?
we don’t really want to engage in a philosophical or theological discussion
we simply want health and healing,
wholeness and fullness of life
You know and understand how we feel
not just because you are God
but because in Jesus you experienced human fife
experienced pain and suffering
experienced having to stand by and watch
Forgive us when we cause pain or injustice
when we cause it to happen without doing anything about it
when we try to ignore it and pretend it isn’t there
Help us to live more faithfully by your values and standards
and to work to establish them in your world
Through Christ our Lord we pray Amen
Luke 24: 13-35
At the present time some of us aren’t making any journeys because of the lockdown restrictions on age and health condition – and that causes frustration. Some can go as far as we can travel in an hour on foot for our daily exercise (we know we ought to be grateful that we can at least do that, but we still long for the day when we can go where we like for as long as we like). Some travel regularly, going to work, but those journeys may involve apprehension about going on public transport or what the situation at work will be like, or they may feel tired and frustrated. Those journeys that we used to make – on holiday, to see friends, for weekends away, to concerts/ plays/ shows/ gigs/ dances – are something to dream about, to remember fondly or through rose-tinted spectacles. [After reading this, why not get out some old photos and reminisce?] There are possibly other journeys that we have made which we don’t remember so fondly: to the hospital, to the ‘headie’s room’, to the boss’s office, that nightmare in the car/ train etc.
Journeys take us from our usual, familiar place somewhere else, somewhere different. A number of major works of literature involve journeys – from the Canterbury Tales to Lord of the Rings, from Kidnapped and Catriona to Huckleberry Finn – and as in ‘real life’ those tales involve twists and turns, unexpected happenings, setbacks/ surprises/ disappointments.
In the Bible some of the key developments in the relationship between the Hebrew people and God come about as a result of journeys: Abraham leaving his base near the Persian Gulf for the Holy Land; the Hebrew tribes going to Egypt in the time of Joseph, and leaving under Moses and Joshua; the deportation of Jews to Babylon as slaves and captives; the return of a minority to the Holy Land under Persian rule (to name a few). They were different journeys, different emotions were involved, but all were ‘learning experiences’ which involved much heart-searching and mental wrestling.
Journeys feature in the Gospels too. Jesus was always on the move, going from town to town, village to village, teaching and healing (and sometimes trying to avoid ‘the authorities’). In due course, in the Book of Acts, we hear of journeys made by the Apostles and their associates in the Holy Land and around the North Eastern shores of the Mediterranean. At the best of times these would not have been comfortable experiences, but often they involved hardship, imprisonment and punishment. Today’s Gospel reading tells of a journey made by Cleopas and another (his friend, his wife?) It is about 11 kilometres or 6 miles from Emmaus to Jerusalem. Presumably they had travelled 6 miles earlier in the day to worship in the Holy City, the tally was 12 by the time they sat down for their evening meal, and 18 by the time they reached the disciples in the late evening. They were probably tired, foot-sore (open-toed sandals on rough tracks), and even in broad daylight there may have been a risk of being mugged.
They didn’t ‘keep themselves to themselves’ as they travelled, but chatted with folk they met; they followed the usual custom and offered their fellow traveller hospitality, though he was a stranger; and in doing these things their knowledge and understanding and faith grew. In a way it is a metaphor for the church’s life and work. We are on a journey – our personal ‘life journeys’, but also the journey of the ‘people of God’ looking to carry out the work that God wants us to do.
Time and life don’t stand still, and neither can we as the church. We need to keep reflecting/ changing/ responding, to the world around in order to be the church that Jesus wants us to be – his hands and feet in the world, the bearer of his Good News. It seems ironic that, having spent a couple of years reflecting on where Jesus wants us to be (both as the Church of Scotland in Dumbarton, and as the church nationally) the world in which we seek to serve has changed so much in the space of about a month. The fact that this service is online, and is being followed by those who usually come to church on a Sunday and by others who do not, is but one example of how things have changed. So God wants us to pause and reflect again, to see how to adapt t this changed and changing world.
A journey involves involve twists and turns, unexpected happenings, setbacks/ surprises/ disappointments. We know that Jesus travels with us on this journey. He is our guide: he knows what lies ahead, he knows what resources we will need to cope, and he will ensure that we have them (in full, on time). What he asks of us is to be open to his leading, to be ready to embrace change where it is needed, and to work hard in serving him and building his Kingdom.
Prayers for others
Almighty and everlasting God
whose loving-kindness embraces all the world
hear our prayers for others
we pray for those who are ill, at home or in hospital
with physical or mental illnesses
those who care for them
medical, nursing and other staff and carers
who are often working under great pressure and with insufficient resources
those who worry about them
those undergoing treatment, those waiting for treatment
and those for whom there is no treatment
those who need help and support at home
but can’t get it, or won’t have it
putting extra stress on family, friends and neighbours
those responsible for managing health and social care services
who take important decisions about
funding, staffing and where and how services will be provided
those who are working in research
looking for new treatments and cures
for those who are lonely or feeling low, grieving a friend or loved one
for those who are worried about work, about money, about home
for those with lives and livelihoods devastated by natural disasters
for those who long for peace and justice
those who work for peace and justice
we pray for the Queen
and all in positions of responsibility
we pray for your church
here and throughout the world
help us to live together in love and unity
and be your hands, your feet, your witness
in everything we do
We bring to you our prayers for people and situations of special concern to us
And we sum up our prayers in the words of the prayer Jesus gave 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 debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen
1 To God be the glory, great things he has done!
So loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the life-gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the people rejoice!
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
and give him the glory! Great things he has done!
2 O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
to every believer the promise of God;
for every offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
3 Great things he has taught us, great things he has done,
and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
but purer, and higher, and greater will be
our joy and our wonder, when Jesus we see.
Christ was raised from the dead
by the glorious power of the Father.
Set out then on a new life with Christ.
and the blessing of God Almighty,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
rest and remain with you,
today, and every day, and for ever. Amen