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Third Sunday of Easter : 23rd April 2023

What follows is a worship service which, I pray, you can participate in at a time(s) that are convenient to you. This 'service' will take about forty five (45) minutes.

I pray that you will feel called to ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in this service.

The text that is in regular typeface (that is what you are reading at the moment) is to be read quietly, while the text that is in
bold face (like you are reading right now) is meant to be read aloud.

Opening Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we commence our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A Call To Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

The Absolution
00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence For Today (let us say aloud):


In your constant love, O Lord, you have led the people whom you ransomed;  you have guided them by your strength to your holy dwelling place.

The Special Prayer For Today (let us pray aloud):

Jesus, we believe you;  all we heard is true.  You break the bread, we recognise you, you are the fire that burns within us;  use us to light the world.  Hear this prayer for your love’s sake.  Amen.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Acts 2:14a, 36-41
00:00 / 01:43

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

1 Peter 1:17-22
00:00 / 01:38

Gradual Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we raise out voices in praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A reading from the holy gospel according to Saint Luke
(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Luke 24:13-35
00:00 / 03:14

Listen to David speak to this gospel
(click the 'play' button below to listen)

The Road To Restoration
00:00 / 10:17

or, if you prefer, you can read the sermon, below:

Sermon Easter 3, 23rd April 2023

May the words of my mouth and the meditations in our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer. <Amen>

Today’s gospel, the road to Emmaus story, begs to be recognised as a story about OUR lives. It is a story with which we are familiar. It is a story of lives broken and lives restored.

The two walkers on the road are in an ‘in-between’ place. They are in that place between the death of Christ and seeing The Risen Christ.

If you’ve ever been in an ‘in-between place’, in your life, between a breakdown and a restoration, then THIS IS YOUR STORY.

The gospel describes a journey from here to there and back again. It’s a journey Cleopas and his companion take and it’s a journey each of us has taken, is taking, or will take. It’s not, however, a one time journey. It’s a journey we take again and again during the course of our lives.

I am not talking about Jerusalem and Emmaus as particular geographical locations. I am talking about them as parts of our human reality. People, places, things in our lives, within us that get enacted in our lives.

A JERUSALEM WITHIN US? WHAT DO I MEAN?

Have you ever felt like you just had to get away? Felt like life had given you more than you could handle? Have you ever been deeply disappointed? Have you ever felt let down by the people around you?

Have you ever felt as if your world had been turned upside down? Have you ever wrestled with those big questions: “Who am I now? Where do I go from here? What do I do next?”

In short, has your life ever been broken? If so, then you know what it’s like to be Cleopas and his companion on that road. That’s what I mean by “a Jerusalem within us”!

As we join these two disciples, they are leaving Jerusalem. Who can blame them? Jerusalem is a place of pain, sorrow, and loss. It’s a place of death, unmet expectations, and disappointment. It’s a place where their lives were torn apart.

No one wants to stay in a place like that.

They are disappointed and heartbroken. They had FERVENTLY hoped Jesus was the one, but he’s dead. They had heard rumours that he was alive but it all sounded like an “idle tale”. There was nothing to keep them in Jerusalem. Their lives had been, seemingly, irretrievably, broken apart. For these two, any place is better than Jerusalem and so they leave and take the road to Emmaus. <PAUSE> AN EMMAUS WITHIN US? WHAT DO I MEAN?

Emmaus was their “escape”. That’s what I mean by “an Emmaus with us” - moving to a new, different place … an escape from their present pain!

What Cleopas and his companion did not know, and what we often do not know, is that the road, the escape, is also the way back to life! A new, resurrection life!

That realisation happened for the two disciples, as it does for us, in the breaking of the bread with Jesus.

Perhaps we should think that it wasn’t an escape FROM LIFE that took them to Emmaus, but a hunger FOR LIFE. It wasn’t a shattering that took them to Emmaus, but a deep desire for restoration. That’s what we find on our own “roads to Emmaus”.

When we open hearts to feel the presence of Christ walking with us, when we open our ears and Hear Christ talking to us, when we open our spirits and come to His table, OUR eyes are opened, and WE recognise Him.”

Just like Cleopas and his companion, we recognise Him as the one we had always hoped for. He would be our restoration. Jesus is the road to our new, resurrection lives. The hope, strength, and courage for the future.

The road to Emmaus shows us life being restored. <PAUSE>

AND BACK TO JERUSALEM FOR US? WHAT DO I MEAN?

Yes, the gospel tells us that these two disciples returned to Jerusalem, the place from which they had to get away because - in The Risen Christ - Jerusalem had become not only the place of death but also the place of new life. In their new resurrected lives, the new Jerusalem became a place of joy. A place of restoration.

Whether you know it or not, accept it or not, those three days, Good Friday to Easter Sunday, changed you. From the loss, pain, and heartbreak of Good Friday to the glorious gift of Easter Sunday - those truths changed us. WE have been reclaimed by God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Broken lives, broken bread, restored lives. Jerusalem, Emmaus, and back to Jerusalem.

This gospel narrative is a masterful tapestry for human life with its shattering, breaking down, escapism and restoration. Yes, it tells the story of two disciples AND ALL OUR LIVES AS WELL … and that breaking of bread with Christ, that restoration … THAT is the gift of God for the people of God. AMEN.

I runga e te Ingoa o te Atua, te Matua, te Tama me te Wairua Tapu. <AMINE>

Pause and Reflect

Just take a moment now to pause. Bow your head, close your eyes.
 

Allow these words of Holy Scripture and this interpretation of them today to speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith

Let us affirm our faith by saying aloud, and together, "The Apostles Creed":

apostles_creed_pic02.jpg
Image by Allef Vinicius

... and now let us pray for the Church, the World, and Ourselves, giving thanks for God's goodness.An Affirmation of Our Faith

​Let us pray aloud, and together:





Prayers for the Third Sunday in Easter

23rd April 2023



 



CHRIST IS RISEN !

​​

HE IS RISEN INDEED - ALLELUIA !!




Holy God, as we gather in fellowship and worship  to hear Your word, to sing Your praise and to break bread in the presence of the Risen Christ, walk with us as individuals and as the Church of God on our personal Road to Emmaus.  Open our eyes, as you did with Jesus’ companions, to the reality and truth of the resurrection.


(Longer Silence) Lord, in Your mercy” : Hear our prayer


We pray for priest, chaplains, pastors, readers - all people who read and\or preach the Gospel, bringing a light to those in darkness and words of love to those in need of comfort.

 

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer



Creator God Your Son walked the roads and tracks of the Holy Land and taught us to seek Your hand in the beauty and wonders of earth and sea and sky. We so often see too much of the evidence of the lack of human care for our world and each other. Help us to recognise Your presence in our modern world, help us to bring peace to the world and help us to use, more wisely, the resources of the earth.

 

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

 

Father God, we thank you for the gift of Your Son, our Saviour, who walks with us on our life’s journey. We pray for all who travel with us in our family, among our friends and within our communities. We pray for a deepening awareness of our need for one another and of Your image in the hearts of everyone we meet.

 

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

 

Loving God, send Your Son to walk with those we know who are going through a time of suffering and pain. Help us to always be aware of one another’s needs and to respond accordingly and assist them with words and deeds onto the road of recovery.

 

We now raise before you those who have asked for our prayers … David, Rose, Mark, Fiona (here in the Wakatipu), Deb, David, Barbara and Lynley (in Christchurch), Andrew, Fiona, Glenys in Dunedin, Sam (in Singapore) and others we now name aloud, or in the silence of our hearts, and those who are known only by you. <PAUSE>

 

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

 

Merciful God accompany those travelling, through the valley of death, and may our love and prayers support those who walk that journey today.

 

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

 

In a moment of silence we pray for ourselves, our families, friends, for all whom we love and for our personal ministries. Make us worthy of the compassion you show to us.

 

(Short Silence) Lord, in Your mercy” : Hear our prayer.

 

Faithful God, as we go from our worship today, out into Your world, we thank You for walking alongside us wherever we travel and, if like those first disciples, we fail to be aware of You forgive us for our human weakness and open our eyes to see You as a  constant companion and friend.

 

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

 

Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

lord's_prayer_pic01_edited.jpg

Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ continues to teach us:
 

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,

your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.   Amen.

Let us conclude our prayers by praying together and aloud:

 

God of mercy,
you have given us grace to pray with one heart and one voice,
and have promised to hear the prayers
of two or three who agree in your name,
fulfil now, we pray,
the prayers and longings of your people
as may be best for us and for your kingdom.
Grant us in this world to know your truth,
and in the world to come to see your glory. Amen.

The Blessing

May The Risen Lord Christ turn His face towards each and every one of you.

May He cause His light to shine upon you, and

may He grant you His peace, and

 

The blessing of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you and all of those whom you love,

on this day and forever more.

A Closing Hymn:

Let us conclude our worship today by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we unite in another hymn our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

The Dismissal

Go now, go out into the world

to love and serve The Lord.

 

Go in peace.

AMEN, we go in the name of Christ.

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