Sunday service 23rd April
Today what we are thinking about how we don’t always see what is in front of us.
StF 353 Jesus is Lord! Creation's voice proclaims it
Prayers of Praise adoration and thanksgiving
All praise to you heavenly father , All praise to the risen Christ, and to the spirit by whom all thingsare possible. We give thanks to you Lord for the great sacrifice you made so that we may be
forgiven and saved, so we might join you in your kingdom. Nothing is beyond your reach, and
there is nothing you cannot overcome, even death itself. You are all powerful mighty Lord, and by
your design all things come into being. We are your children and in you we see our salvation. We
worship you, we praise you, before you we are naught but what you make us to be.
Lord Jesus, we bring before you all our concerns, for others, for the world and for ourselves.
We ask that you be with all those for whom daily life is not a time of purpose or joy, but one of fear,
pain or worry. We ask that you walk with them and make your presence felt so that they may feel
their burden lifted and know that they are not alone, but that they can follow you into a new life.
Lord in your mercy...
We remember all who like your family and friends at Easter 2000 years ago, feel the loss of loved
ones at this time, or who, like so many that you helped during your ministry, suffer with long term
illness. May they feel your healing touch and take comfort from your blessed love. May they know
that they are in our prayers and that you are with them.
Lord in your mercy..
We pray for your world, pillaged for its resources, abused, polluted and torn apart by war. We
remember those who still suffer because of natural disasters, brought about by climate change.
The people of Syria and Turkey, still in need after the earthquakes in that region. The people of
America who have had their homes and communities ripped apart by storms. May you strengthen
the hearts of those who feel powerless in the face of the need for great change, and help us all
take responsibility for how we treat the home you have given to us.
Lord in your mercy...
We pray for the leaders of the world in this time of political unrest - may they be guided by you
into the paths of peace, and no longer feel the need for posturing, when all are equal in your sight.
Help them to focus instead on leading all people into a better way, where trust and cooperation
rule over strife and discord.
Lord in your mercy
Finally lord we pray for ourselves and in a time of quiet bring before you all that weight on our
hearts at this time. We pray for those who are known to us and need our prayers, and ask that
you are with us all through the coming weeks and years as we try to be your people on earth and
do your will.
We ask all these prayers in the name of your son, our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.
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.
Today what we are thinking about will be how we don’t always see what is in front of us. In our
gospel reading we will hear about two followers of Jesus who spent some time with him without
recognising him. Sometimes we see things without realising what it is we are seeing, even though
it is right in front of us. Some of the ladies I work with call it having a “Man look”, my Gran, who
was very wise, would say “you can't see for looking”. I actually had an eye test this week and my
prescription has only changed enough for them to be able to say I need new glasses. At an
exorbitant cost. But that means that for the most part my eyes are not the problem. So if it isnt
the eyes then it must be the brain they are talking to.
Seeing is also a bit of an odd term - it of course refers to vision, but we also use it as an indication
of understanding - “ah, yes I see...” - being used to show we are able to visualise something in our
Being able to see things as they are, and identify what is important and what isnt, what to share
and what to not worry about is an important element of art, design and effective communication.
Including teaching and learning.
Now the image here is one suggested for use today. I have to say it's not my kind of art. But my
favourite image also relates to this idea of not always seeing everything straight away. It is Hunters
in the Snow, and is so detailed that I see something new nearly every time I look closely at it.
The story of Jesus, and his teaching is a bit like that. Every time we read it we see something
new, even though what we are seeing has been right in front of us all the time. The more we look,
the more we see, and the more we see the more we understand. And the more we understand,
the more we see...
We need to keep looking at what Jesus taught us so we can keep understanding, we need to see.
Hymn 2 StF 296 Christ has risen, while earth slumbers
Reading 1 Luke 24: 13-35
Reading 2 1 Peter 1: 17-23
Hymn 3 Stf 594 Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us
As I said earlier, sometimes we need to keep looking to see what is right in front of us. In the
familiar story of the road to Emmaus we encounter two followers of Jesus who are leaving
Jerusalem on the day of the resurrection. They encounter a stranger on the road and the three of
them fall into a discussion about the recent events. We are told that the followers were prevented
from seeing that the stranger was Jesus - not that Jesus was in disguise, or looked different, but
that they were prevented from seeing clearly who he was. The course of the discussion tests the
understanding of the two followers, and then calls their attention to the aspects they have failed to
grasp and clarifies them. By the time the journey is over the day is ending and it is getting late.
Jesus is invited to stay with the two. As he breaks bread with them they recognise who they have
been talking with and they understand more fully what is happening and who Jesus really is.
As a teacher, when I was preparing for this service and reading through the different translations I
recognised Jesus’s technique with these two followers. It is a classic teaching strategy - give the
learners information they need to engage actively with, then at some point test their understanding
by getting them to recount what they have seen and what their understanding of it is. Then correct
any misconceptions that come to light, and finally get the learners to recount their revised
understanding to cement it within their memory. An OFSTED inspector would be quite happy with
what they observed, although my experience is that they would also want a bit more pace to the
teaching, but then they have to find something to criticise.
The two followers' lack of seeing is both literal - they are prevented from recognising Jesus, and
metaphorical in their lack of understanding what he had been teaching them during his ministry.
Because of this all those who read the account would have their understanding clarified as well.
How often do we fail to see what is in front of us? How often do we see something new when we
look deeper at something we have seen before? And how often do we share that with others?
When we look at Jesus’ teaching, when we read scripture, sometimes the spirit will move within us
and reveal fresh insight and understanding. But what do we do with that?
When was the last time you shared seeing something new in scripture with someone else? I don’t
know where you are on your journey with Christ. You may be new to the church, and just finding
your way, setting off on your travels by his side, or you may feel that you have come a great
distance, and are a seasoned companion of Jesus on your road with him. Either way we are
probably reluctant to share new insights, in case we look silly. Students at work often say they
don’t like to share what they have found out, in case they look stupid because everyone else
already knows what they have just found out. In reality that is rarely the case, and in contrast they
like to hear others share what they have learned because it makes them feel they can learn things
Jesus was revealed to his followers when he needed them to recognise him. When Jesus wants a
person to know something, no power on earth can stop that happening. The maker of all creation
is not going to be stopped by anything. BUT, unlike the followers on the road to Emmaus, Jesus
will work through others. He appeared to those followers because he needed them to see the
risen Christ, to be witnesses and bear testimony as to his resurrection, and victory over death. But
following his ascension, Jesus, though the spirit, has worked through the voices and actions of
others who walk with him. Like us. Where he needs someone to joining the dots, and put things
together, the information will be there for them to see, but the hints and clues will come from
others, and that might include us! So if you feel you have discovered something, share it, don’t be
afraid, it might be that Christ is sharing that insight, so that you can share it with others who need
to hear it. And if you hear someone explain something, and as a result the clouds part and you
can see clearly what was in front of you all the time, but hidden from your sight, let those who were
instrumental in helping you see, know because they may be feeling that sharing that knowledge
was not a good idea, and may be making them look a bit silly.
Hymn 4 Stf 519 Father I place into your hands...
Confession, penance and forgiveness
Lord as we stand before you, in awe at the sacrifice you have made for us, we recognise that we
have fallen short of what you want us to be. We have sinned against each other and against you.
As you have taught us, we confess these sins to you, and to ourselves, and fully repent them,
seeking your aid to be better people, more like your plan for us from this time onwards. So we ask
your forgiveness, Lord, and so that we might in turn be forgiven, we truly forgive those who have
sinned against us, for until we do, we may not seek or receive your blessing. We bring before you
then the things we have done wrong.
Hear then the good news, through the sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ, our sins may be
Amen, thanks be to god.
Stf 297 Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.
Blessing & dismissal
Father God we ask that you bless the gifts we bring to you today for the work of your church here
on earth. We thank you for the great gifts you have given to us, and ask that you strengthen us
and continue to work in and through us in the coming week as we go forth to live and to serve you.
In the name of Christ.
Words by Peter Gray
23/4/2023 09:46:05 am
Lovely service. From peter. I. Always enjoyed. His preaching
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