Message from Our Pastor
Engrossed by his conversation, the disciples begged him to join them for supper. It was only at the table, when Jesus blessed the bread and broke it, that they suddenly recognized him. Breaking the bread and blessing it, that is the Eucharist for us, too. Jesus reveals himself in the breaking of the bread, although as we expect it, we are not as astonished as those two men.
It would be better, perhaps, if we were astonished, because the Eucharist is the most sacred of gifts.
We are reminded that it’s not the frequency we received the sacrament that makes it special, but the words that accompanied it – “broken, given and shed for you.”
With those words comes the grace of God’s promise of forgiveness and love. And so, Luther presses, it is not just once a month, indeed not even every Sunday, but every day, we should come to the table, if possible, for every day we are in need of knowing God’s grace.
The Road to Emmaus story is the story for the third Sunday of Easter in last year’s lectionary cycle. I looked up my sermon for that Sunday in 2020. We were still trying to figure out streaming, and how to celebrate holy week and Easter from my dining room. At the top of the discussion pile was what to do about the sacraments, which by their very nature are meant to be communal acts.
My sermon last year was about elevating the sacredness of every meal as we awaited the opportunity to commune together again around the table of the altar. Little did I, or any of us, know then that we would still be waiting a year later.
Please know that I hear your hunger and thirst for the sacrament. And, please know that I am wrestling with God, and our Lutheran understanding of the sacrament, to find a way to distribute the Eucharist with integrity, as soon as possible.
In the meantime, I urge you to think again about the presence of Christ at each of your meals, especially as you might be extending your meals to include others, at your home or at a restaurant.
But that was last year’s sermon.
[Several paintings of the “Road to Emmaus” and Jesus breaking the bread at the meal afterwards were used to illustrate the Gospel reading.]
Let’s go back to the paintings. In almost every work of art, all you see is Jesus’ back. In some pieces, you can assume the Jesus figure to be the one clothed in white. But in some pieces the three figures are indistinguishable from one another.
Here is what I would like you to think about. When have you been in the presence of God and not realized it, except for hindsight? Where might you have been with Jesus and not recognized him?
As you go throughout this week, look. Look intently, with your heart, your eyes, and even your ears, for the resurrected Jesus in your midst. Take a picture if it is not intrusive, write a sentence. Bring it back to the rest of the disciples here at St. Mark. Email, text or call and tell me about your encounter so that we too can pass the word around that Jesus indeed, is not dead.
Remember the words of Sister Beckett, the central belief of Christianity is not that Jesus died, but that Jesus died and rose again. We have a living faith, because we believe in a living God.
Jesus Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! Jesus Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia!