The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) is one of the best-known Post-Resurrection stories from the Gospels. As we continue in the Season of Easter, we continue to make sense of what it means the Christ is Risen.
On the Road, Two disciples who are still baffled and confused by how quickly Jesus was caught up in scandal, executed and apparently rose from the dead. I would be hard pressed to comprehend what all took place. In their confusion, Jesus shows up and points them to the bigger picture. We often get so focused on our immediate circumstances we lose sight of what God has done and what God is doing. In the coming weeks take a moment to lift up your head from current circumstances and allow God to paint a bigger picture.
In this story, we are also reminded that God promises to show up. They didn’t notice Jesus as he quietly listened and then spoke words of hope and compassion. They noticed Jesus when he broke bread with them. What are those moments in your life in which God is revealed? Sometimes I see God revealed in a kind word from a stranger, a note from an old friend when I’m feeling down, or just playing with my daughter who is the embodiment of wonder. I also know as Lutherans, we have faith that God shows up at the Communion Table every Sunday. We know that God shows up in the water and the word at Baptism. Martin Luther reminds us to remember our Baptism when we wash our face or take a show. Christ’s love is there.
Among the many things that Resurrection teaches us, it is that Christ is always with us. As Romans 8:38-39 assures us “ For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Read the Road to Emmaus Story. What do you see? How do you live in Christ’s Love every day? How can you show and remind others of this love? That is the Good News.
I am always amazed at how quickly time passes. We have started Lent and In April comes Holy Week and Easter. I wanted to offer some insight into Holy Week. Holy Week is a celebration and remembrance of Jesus’ Journey toward the Cross.
Holy week begins on April 14th this year. Palm Sunday. We read a processional Gospel of Jesus entering into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. While Jesus had been to Jerusalem many times in his life. This time it was different for Jesus. His Arrival this time was meant to fulfill scripture and brought attention to his teachings in a new way. Much like candidates throwing their hat in the ring for a political race. Jesus triumphant arrival makes a statement. While our church just reads Jesus arrival in Jerusalem. Many Churches have the practice of reading the whole Passion of Christ on the Sunday before Easter.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday don’t have any particular significance in the church but some churches read various passages related to Jesus foreshadowing the events of Good Friday. Community will have a time of open prayer on Wednesday from Noon to 5 with some readings and guided reflections at the beginning of the hour.
Maundy Thursday we celebrate the lasting gathering of Jesus with his disciples. We wash our feet as a sign of humility and imitation of Christ. After the Eucharist the washing of feet is one of the oldest rituals we have as Christians.
We celebrate the Eucharist or Communion as Jesus tells us to remember him.The events of the Last Supper are recorded as happening around the time of the passover meal. We must note that the modern Jewish Seder began after Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 70AD. The passover meal Jesus and his disciples celebrated may have been similar to the modern seder but as Christians we have a tradition the Eucharist. While informative to our own faith, the Seder is strictly a Jewish tradition.
The Maundy Thursday Service often concludes with a stripping of the Altar to remember the burial of Jesus.
People often wonder why we call the day we remember Jesus’ death on the Cross “Good” Friday. It is because we have hope in the Resurrection. Of course to have resurrection, death needs to happen first.
Our Tradition at Community has been to read the Passion Narrative. On Sundays we often only read snippets of the Gospel. Good Friday is one of the few times we read through a large portion of the Gospels and get to fully hear the story of Jesus. Jesus journey to the cross is long and arduous. I urge to you listen carefully to what happens to Jesus. We often are quick to go from the Cross to Easter Sunday but Good Friday intentional makes us journey with Jesus toward the cross and makes us listen and know Jesus’ death intimately. That Jesus suffered and died for our sin. Because of this, The hope of Resurrection is all the more joyous and hopeful when we experience it on Easter Sunday.
May your Holy Week be truly Holy and Transformative.
March this year is the start of the Lenten Season. Lent is a time for self-reflection and examining not only our lives but the life of Jesus on his journey toward the cross of Good Friday with the Hope of the Resurrection on Easter.
This year we will be exploring what it means to encounter the Gospels with our senses — touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell. Our senses are how we make sense of the world around us. We often read the stories of Jesus and we have lots of ideas about what Jesus means to us in our head. However, Jesus is the incarnate word, the word made flesh. He embodies the hope and love of God. How do you experience Jesus in your daily life? Every Wednesday this Lent we will explore the gospels through our senses. By touch through the anointing of oils and prayer. By Sight as we study the rich images of the Gospel through Icons and Art. By Sound as we confess our sins aloud and hear the words “You are Forgiven.”
By taste as we partake in the Bread and Wine of communion and By Smell as we pray together using diffused essentials oils similar to the burning of incense.
We worship a living God. Through these simple acts of worship, we experience God as present with us, not just in thought but through all our senses. Worship becomes embodied as we sense the world around us. My prayer this Lent is that you experience God. That your senses of Touch, Sight, Sound, Taste, and Smell expand how God is present in your life every day.
Here are the Gospel Stories will we look at:
Jesus raises the widow’s son – Touch – Luke 7:11-17
Jesus heals the blind man at Bethsaida – Sight – Mark 8:22-25
Jesus changes water into wine – Taste – John 2:1-10
Jesus says the dead will hear – Hearing - John 5:25-29
Jesus anointed with perfume – Smell - John 12:1-3
Take some time to examine what Jesus is doing and saying in these passages. How do our senses fit into the story?
What does it mean to Worship together? We gather as a community every Sunday in the hope that will we encounter God.
As Lutherans, we are steeped in the historic Liturgy (the order of worship). Liturgy means the works of the people. When people read the lessons, the prayers, when we sing together, we respond or pray in unison. All these things contribute to the Liturgy. As Pastor, I contribute only a small portion of what makes worship.
At our Annual Meeting, there was a motion to look at our worship schedule. To particularly consider if having just one service is a possibility. Historically churches who choose to reduce worship service times tend to lose overall attendance.
We have set-up a task to review and prioritize the many aspects of what such a change to our worship life might entail, which would include changes with Sunday School and the Choir. One of the concerns raised is the lack of volunteers for needed roles within worship such as altar guild set-up, assisting ministers, and ushers. We have many folks who are scheduled quite often and encouraging more participation is a must for us to continue our current worship schedule. The Task Forces first concern is looking at how we can increase volunteerism by making our worship experience more accessible while remaining true to our Lutheran Worship heritage.
In an effort to make sure everyone is informed and involved, we will have as many opportunities to offer instruction and discussion on the essentials of worship. Please keep an eye out for these opportunities. These will include discussions after worship services, Articles in the grapevine, a survey. Please feel free to talk to me directly if you have a concern.
In all our discussion about worship, we must keep our focused our mission here at CLC. “To Know Christ and Make Christ Known.” Keep this focus in your prayers as we discern and work together.
Epiphany begins with the story of the 3 Magi or Gentile Priests who through divine knowledge and Reading the stars learned that the Savior Jesus is born in Bethlehem. These three priests were most likely Zoroastrian which is one of the oldest religions in the world.
Epiphany celebrates not only that Jesus is the savior of the Jewish people but also the whole world. Christ’s light and love are for everyone. However, what exactly do Christ’s light and love look like? One of the great writings about love in the Christian Tradition comes to us from 1 Corinthians chapter 13. In this short chapter, we find a succinct illustration of what God’s love looks like. As we go through the various Lectionary texts this season, I urge you to look at the parallel themes that 1 Corinthians 13 brings out. My prayer is that it enlightens and draws you closer to what it means to find the love of God in Christ Jesus. That God might give you, your very own Epiphany.
The themes are as follows:
Jan 6 Love never ends
Jan 13th When the complete comes, the partial will come to an end
Jan 20th It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things
Jan 27th Now I know only in part; then I will know fully; even as I have been fully known
Feb 3rd The greatest of these is love.
Feb 10th And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Feb 17th If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing
Feb 24th When I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.
March 3rd For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face.
PS. I also wanted to take a moment to offer and word of thanks for your support and prayers while I was away for Advent and Christmas. It was a gift to be able to bond with Norah and for Caitlin and me to learn how to care for her together.
I look forward to the remainder of the year and what lies ahead.
A few quick notes:
Please continue to pray of Dick Kauffman. He has some heart issues that are being addressed.
Also, we are resetting the Weekly Prayer list in the bulletin. Please take some time to review the list. Contact the church office if there is a specific person whom you would like to remain on the list. We want to start fresh as the list has gotten rather lengthy.
Posts from various People reflecting on How Christ intersects with daily Life.